5 men jailed 8 years for robbery using Malawi Government vehicle

Lilongwe Magistrate Court on Monday, November 3, 2012 sentenced to 8 years imprisonment with hard labor (IHL) five men who were found guilty of daylight robbery using a Malawi Government vehicle.

The government vehicle registration number MG 748 AF belonging to the Office of the President and Cabinet’s (OPC) E- Government Department was used in the theft and was driven by Andrew Kazembe.

The convicts are 25 year old Yusuf Kalembo of Kalembo village Traditional Authority (TA) Kalembo in Balaka. Geoffrey Ali, 33, who hails from Kauma Village TA Tambala in Dedza, 36 year old Andrew Kazembe from Mmemo village, TA Makwangwala in Ntcheu, Frank Semu, 28, of Kalima Village TA Masasa, Ntcheu, and Abdul Chapuma, 28, of Kachere Village, TA Ndindi in Salima.

On November 14, 2012 the court heard that the suspects robbed the residence of Shameer Aboo in Area 9, house number 47, of approximately K75, 000, four cell phones and a laptop, contrary to section 301 of the penal code. Aboo is a businessman who has a shop at Bwalo la Njobvu in Lilongwe city.

“The convicts found Aboo having lunch with his family at around 2pm on the day and forced themselves into the house. The suspects then demanded cash from him and went away with approximately K75, 000 and other items, injuring him in the process.

The vehicle that was used in the robbery

“The suspects managed to escape but were later apprehended by the police following the help from the general public,” said Kingsley Dandaula, Lilongwe Police station Deputy Public Relations Officer in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana).

In his comments, State Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Damiano Kaputa asked the court to provide a stiffer sentence since robbery with violence was a serious offence attracting a maximum sentence of 14 years IHL and for it to serve as a warning to would be offenders.

The offenders however in mitigation, asked the court to show leniency in passing its sentence since they have various responsibilities towards their families.

Kazembe, the driver of the vehicle asked the court to consider a minimal sentence as he was afraid of being dismissed from his work since he was a civil servant.

In his ruling First Grade Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa concurred with the State Prosecutor, saying the suspects deserved a stiffer sentence since aside from stealing various items, they also injured the victim.

He further said the case brought shame to government since its vehicle which could have been attending to other important functions was used as an aid in the robbery.

The magistrate then went on to slap the suspects with 8 years IHL.

On November 14, Sub Inspector Gift Mwahara of Lilongwe Police Station told the court that on  November 1, 2012 the police followed on a lead of a possible robbery from a well wisher and proceeded to the scene.

On their way, the officers met a cruising Toyota Hilux with mud on its number plate. Efforts to stop the vehicle proved futile and so the police resorted to chasing the vehicle until they apprehended it due to traffic jam. They searched the vehicle and found a Panga knife.

The driver was taken to Lilongwe Police station where he was questioned and later led the police to the scene of the incident where four other suspects were also arrested.

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