A court in Salima has ordered three people to pay fines totalling K900,000 for trafficking 85 bags of charcoal and the court has also ordered that the vehicle they were using should be given to Malawi Government.
The first grade magistrate’s court made the ruling on May 27, 2022.
The convicts include owner of the vehicle, Jonathan Kapanda, 32.
The court through state prosecutor, Loyd Magweje, heard that the trio were arrested on the night of May 19, 2022 at Levi trading centre along Nkhotakota- Salima road while in a two tonner vehicle, registration number NS1551.
The vehicle was loaded with 85 bags of charcoal.
Magweje further told the court that a team of police detectives coming from raid duties found the trio at the said trading centre.
Appearing in court, all the three pleaded guilty to the charge of trafficking forest produce without license which contravenes section 63 of the Forest Amendment Act number 7 of 2020 and were convicted right away.
The state prayed for meaningful punishment after observing that such cases are rampant in the district and nationwide. The state argued that wanton cutting of indigenous trees has negative impact on agriculture as well as tourism and that the commission of the offence was well planned as the vehicle owner was also involved.
The three begged for leniency saying they have family obligations.
One of the convicts, Ruth Ganya said she had recently undergone operation.
Passing sentence, first grade magistrate Anthony Banda fined Kapanda to pay K600,000 and the other two, Kamanga and Ganya, to pay K150,000 each and further ordered the vehicle and 85 bags of charcoal be forfeited to Malawi government.
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