Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Mzuzu, today, September 5, has convicted a police officer for breaking into a warehouse and stealing150 bales of barley tobacco therein.
State Prosecutor, Superintendent Christopher Katani, told the court that the convict, during the night of August 22, 2016, at Hilltop in the city of Mzuzu with intent to permanently deprive the owner; broke into a Mzikenge Warehouse which belongs to Mzikenge Saka and stole150 bales of barley tobacco.
The bales belonged to different local farmers from Mzuzu, Mzimba and Rumphi Districts, all estimated to cost K11, 250,000.00.
Appearing in court, the convict pleaded not guilty.The state paraded 22 witnesses.
One of the witnesses was the convict’s co – accused, Samuel Chawinga, 19, whom the police dropped his charge and turned him prosecution witness.
In his evidence, Chawinga told the court that on that particular day, the convict took him to the warehouse where they broke into it.
He further told the court that they loaded the bales in a lorry; sold three bales at JendaTrading Centre and sold the rest at Lundazi in Zambia.
Chawinga disclosed that the convict gave him K30,000.00 not to disclose the theft.
During the proceedings, it was revealed that the convict used part of the proceeds to buy a Nissan Tilda in Lilongwe.
At the end of prosecution case, the convict entered defence. He told the court he would call witnesses. However, none of the registered witnesses turned up.
Magistrate Gladys Gondwe said after analysing evidence from both the prosecution and defence sides, the court was satisfied that the prosecution side had managed to adduce evidence beyond reasonable doubt.
The court, therefore convicted the police officer.
In his submission, Regional Prosecution Inspector for the North, Superintendent Lyold Kachosa, asked for stiffer non – custodial sentence to deter would be offenders.
The prosecutor further asked the court to order sale of the convict’s vehicle, which police recovered, and other property whose proceeds should go to the complainants.
He said this would mitigate the plight of the complainants.
The convict, in mitigation, asked for leniency. He said he has already lost his job by virtue of the conviction.
He was charged with breaking into a building and committing felony therein, contrary to section 311(a) of the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, the court is expected to deliver sentence on September 25, 2018.
The convict, 33, who was based at Chiputula Police Unit in the city, hails from Chinseu Village, T/A Chulu in Kasungu District.