Mangochi Court Acquits Memory Chokhotho Accused Of Impersonating Military Officer

The First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Mangochi district has found Blessings Memory Chokhotho innocent of the charge of impersonating a government employee which is against section 99(b) of the Penal Code.

On 24 April 2023, Mrs. Chokhotho was driving her car from Mangochi when she met the traffic police, who stopped her and asked her about the military jacket that was on the seat of the car.

While being questioned, the police say that the woman identified herself as a soldier of the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) and also gave her work number. The police arrested her on suspicion of impersonating a government employee. The police went to search the woman’s house where they found clothes, cloth and paper, all made of MDF.

Because she was underprivileged and could not afford a lawyer, Ms. Chokhotho sought the help of the Legal Aid Bureau after her arrest. Their case was therefore managed by Senior Legal Aid Advocate Upile Mapata.

In court, the government side brought six (6) witnesses. These witnesses confirmed that when Chokhotho was arrested, he was not doing any work for a person employed by the government and it was not the place he was expected to be as a government employee.

It was also learned that the papers and military cloths found in her house belonged to her ex-husband who left them on his way to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In giving a verdict, First Grade Magistrate Roy Kakutu agreed with the Legal Aid Bureau that in the case of pretending to be a government employee, all aspects of the case must be proven and show that the person actually does what a government official does.

Due to the lack of evidence, the court found that the authorities did not have enough evidence to arrest the woman. The court found that he had no case to answer and released him.

After her release, Chokhotho thanked the Legal Aid Bureau for helping her with the case because without a lawyer she would have struggled.

“After I was arrested, everyone where I live sees me as a criminal and this has disturbed me a lot. My family is also very affected that this release has come as salvation,” Chokhotho added.

For a while, Mrs. Chokhotho was kept in a police cell and then she was taken to prison. After being represented by the Legal Aid Bureau, he was released on bail.

-Legal Aid Bureau-

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