The Lilongwe Resident’s Magistrate Court has on Wednesday, 4 January 2024, sentenced a man who is in his 30s to three years imprisonment with hard labour for forging a Malawi passport to continue his stay in South Africa.
Confirming the development to Malawi24 was Central Region Immigration public relations officer Patrick Msume, who identified the suspect as Mathews Solomon Chikapa who was answering charges of forgery of documents which is contrary to section 35 of the Immigration Act.
State prosecutor Inspector Binwell Kachingwe, told the court that Solomon Chikapa was arrested in Lilongwe for possessing a forged passport when he went for renewal at Immigration offices.
Inspector Kachingwe further submitted that Chikapa was issued with the passport in 2011 and upon expiring of the said passport he forged the bio data page in 2021 by extending the validity of the passport with the aim of continuing his stay in South Africa.
The convict pleaded guilty to the count and during mitigation, he prayed for leniency citing family obligations. However, the State asked the court to give the convict a stiffer punishment as issues of forged travel documents are becoming rampant and if left unchecked will tarnish the image of Department of Immigration.
When passing the sentence, the court quashed the mitigating factors and went on to slap the convict with three years Imprisonment with hard labour.