Mzuzu Magistrate Court on Wednesday convicted a police officer for breaking into a warehouse in the city and stealing 150 bales of barley tobacco worth over K11 million.
Northern Region Police Headquarters media release says State prosecutor Christopher Katani told the court in an earlier submission that Prince Chimseu broke into Mzikenge Saka’s warehouse in Hilltop on the night of August 22, 2016.
“The bales belonged to different local farmers from Mzuzu, Mzimba and Rumphi districts, all valued at around K11, 250, 000,” reads part of the statement signed by assistant Public Relations Officer, Martin Bwanali.
Chimseu pleaded not guilty forcing the State to parade 22 witnesses including co-accused Samuel Chawinga, 19, whose charge police dropped and turned him into prosecution witness.
Chawinga told the court that Chimseu took him to the warehouse where they broke into it.
“He further [said] they loaded all the bales of tobacco in a lorry and sold three of them at Jenda Trading Centre [in Mzimba] and sold the rest at Lundazi in Zambia,” reads the release.
He also disclosed that the suspect gave him K30, 000 to conceal the theft.
During the proceedings, it was revealed that Chimseu used part of the proceeds to buy a Nissan Tilda car in Lilongwe.
On Wednesday, Chief Resident Magistrate Gladys Gondwe said after analyzing evidence from both sides that the court was satisfied that the prosecution proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
She, therefore, found Chimseu guilty of breaking into a building and stealing from it contrary to Section 311(a) of the Penal Code.
In his submission, Northern Region Prosecution Inspector Superintendent Lloyd Kachosa asked for stiffer custodial sentence to deter would-be offenders.
The prosecutor further asked the court to order sale of the accused’s vehicle which police recovered, and other property for the proceeds to go to the complainants.
In mitigation, Chimseu asked for leniency, saying he had already lost his job for becoming a convict.
Meanwhile, the court has set September 25, 2018 as the day for sentencing.
Chimseu, 33, was working at Chiputula Police Unit in the city and hails from Chinseu Village, Traditional Authority Chulu in Kasungu District.