Chief Resident Magistrate’s (CRM) court in Lilongwe on Monday, October 4, 2021 slapped four people to a custodial sentence for illegally possessing 58 bags.

CRM Patrick Chirwa jailed Paul Nyirenda (37) and Evance Kapalamula (48), to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) each, while Yamikani Kambalame (26) and Geoffrey Phiri (20), have reaped 7 and 5 years IHL respectively.

The court heard through state prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent Isaac Kadawayula that the four were arrested on the night of August 26, 2021 near Nsaru trading centre in Lilongwe.

They were using a Tanker registration number MZ 1435/MZ 3425 freightliner belonging to KK properties.

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However, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) patrol team that was conducting routine checks around the area intercepted the vehicle and alerted police who arrested the culprits.

The four pleaded guilty to the charge and the laboratory test done at Chitedze Research Station positively verified the contraband weighing 1246.70 kilogrammes.

In his submissions, Kadawayula who is second  in charge Prosecutions at Central West Region (CWR), asked the Court to impose a stiffer punishment because the offence was not committed by mistake, but was expertly planned looking at how the hemp was concealed in a petrol compartment.

“Your worship, the hemp was meant for trafficking, the weight is extremely huge, and offences of this nature are rampant,” Kadawayula said.

In mitigation, the accused persons through their Counsel, prayed for leniency since they are first offenders.

However, in passing the sentence, CRM Chirwa concurred with the state prosecutor and explained that drug and substance abuse is prevalent amongst the youths. He observed that government and parents waste vital resources in rehabilitating the youth, instead of funding other important social amenities.

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He therefore slapped all the four accused persons with a jail term. The vehicle has been returned to KK properties because the driver, who is the first accused, diverted at own volition to carry the hemp, despite being assigned to ferry fuel from Beira, Mozambique.

The four convicts, Paul Nyirenda hails from Dange village, Traditional Authority Kampingosibande in Mzimba district, Evance Kapalamula from Njunga village, Traditional Authority Phambala in Ntcheu district, Yamikani Kambalame from Mtokoma village, Traditional Authority Msamala in Balaka district, and Geoffrey Phiri from Sande village, Traditional Authority Makwangwala in Ntcheu district.

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