Nkhata-Bay First Grade Magistrate Court has on July 13 sentenced two criminals to 14 years Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) for robbing cash amounting to K16 million at Meru Filling Station belonging to Peter Katasya at Chintheche Trading centre.
The two criminals Francis Charles Chipi, 35, hails from Kazembe village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chikowi in Zomba district while Mbiri Nkhoma 38, comes from Tchawale village, TA Kayembe in Dowa district.
State prosecutor, Pleasant Sichali told the court that during the night of January 8, 2020, the two criminals Chipi and Nkhoma, in collaboration with five other suspects attacked Meru Filling Station offices after tying up the watchmen and fuel attendants with ropes.
“They broke a manager’s office, dismantled a cash safe and went away with money amounting to K16, 570, 000,” Sichali said.
Sichali also told the court that immediately after the matter was reported to Nkhata-Bay Police Station, investigations were instituted which led to the arrest of all the seven suspects and recovered little amount of money plus some property bought using the stolen money.
“They were charged with robbery which contravenes section 300 of the Penal Code,” He said.
Appearing in court, five of the suspects denied the offence while the two Chipi and Nkhoma pleaded guilty to the charge. The court proceeded with the facts of those who accepted the offence.
In his submission, Sichali expressed worries over the conduct by the criminals.
He said stealing such huge sum of money is tantamount to killing and prayed for stiffer punishment.
In mitigation, both convicts told the court that they look after their poor families and asked the court to lighten the punishment.
However, when passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Robert Makaika told the court that the convicts committed felonious offence which attracts maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour. He therefore whipped the convicts with the maximum sentence with effect from the date of arrest.
The Magistrate further pronounced that the recovered money and some property bought using the stolen cash must be given to the complainant.