Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate Court has convicted and sentenced a 27 year old man to pay a fine of K5, 000 or in default serve two months imprisonment with hard labour for chewing bank notes amounting to K7, 000.

The court heard that on 3rd April, 2016 at around 7 o’clock in the morning, Benjamin Nyirenda was sent to a trading centre in Likoma District by Thoko Mbinga who gave the former K8, 000 cash to buy some goods.

However, at around 11:00 hours, Mr. Mbinga was informed that Nyirenda was seen at a certain drinking joint. Upon hearing this, Mbinga decided to follow the suspect only to find him imbibing the beer.

“When the accused (Nyirenda) saw the owner of the money (Mbinga), he took the money from his pocket and put them into his mouth and started chewing them thereby damaging the notes amounting to K7, 000,” Police Prosecutor Sergeant Keston Chiona told the court.

Nyirenda pleaded guilty to the charge of damaging bank notes which is under section 23 (2) (C) of the Reserve Bank Act. He was, therefore, convicted in his own plea of guilt.

In mitigation, the accused told the court he was under the influence of alcohol when he committed the offence.

“I am asking for a lenient sentence because I was under the influence of alcohol when I committed the offence,” he pleaded.

However, passing the judgment, First Grade Magistrate Billy Wankaya Ngosi, schooled Nyirenda that the sole ownership of the bank notes is the Reserve Bank of Malawi and that people are just users.

He then ordered the convict to pay a fine of K5, 000 or in default serve a two-month jail term. But Nyirenda failed to pay the fine and is currently serving at Nkhata Bay Prison.

Benjamin Nyirenda comes from Chilongoli Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mkumpha in Likoma District.

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