Balaka court frees Tsanya dealers, despite pleading guilty

The Balaka Second Grade Magistrate Court in eastern Malawi has set free two people who pleaded guilty for being found with indigenous banned Tsanya logs without permit, accusing the forestry department of failing to perform their duties.

Tsanya logs

Tsanya logs

Tsanya logs impounded

Tsanya logs impounded

Police Prosecutor Sub Inspector Elias Chitsulo told the court that the suspects Billy Dziopani (36), and Joseph Feki (29), were on the night of 16th November, 2015 at Chingeni Roadblock, found with a container full of indigenous tsanya logs without permit.

Chitsulo said, the officers were doing routine checks at the roadblock when they came across a truck registration number PE1698 with Trailer number NN1213.

“When the suspects were asked of what was in the container, they said that they carried pine planks and produced a Malawi Government General receipt number 1608031 and transfer certificate number 008/15 in the name of J. Jussab which was issued at Regional Forest Office and was signed by M. D. Kawalewale on behalf of the Regional officer.”

But when the police insisted that they open the container, the officers discovered that the truck carried 450 banned tsanya logs without permit.

“The pine planks were just half a meter tall and were just used to disguise that they had taken planks as was written on the transfer certificate.”

The two pleaded guilty to the charge of being found in possession of forest produce without permit and Police tendered the tsanya logs and the vehicle as exhibits.

Passing judgment Second Grade Magistrate Victor Sibu acquitted the two saying that the Regional Forest Office failed their duty because they were supposed to check what was in the container before issuing the Government receipt and transfer certificate.

He said the two had authority to transfer the said items from Forest office and wondered as to why Police arrested them.

He said Regional Forest office knew what was going on and not the two. He therefore acquitted them and ordered that the truck, the pieces of pine planks and the banned tsanya logs be returned to the owner and Police has since released the vehicle and the tsanya logs.

Billy Dziopani comes from Chikalema village, Traditional Authority Dambe in Mwanza district while Joseph Feki comes from Phalula village, Senior Chief Nsamala in Balaka district.

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40 thoughts on “Balaka court frees Tsanya dealers, despite pleading guilty”

  1. motortrader says:

    There is no Tsanya in Malawi anymore it was finished by a Ziboliboli. I agree that the Tsanya was in transit to China. The forestry officer knew that the truck was carrying Tsanya in the front section of the container and pine planks at the rear. The police at Chiingeni roadblock were sharp and alert. The magistrate should have impounded the Tsanya and released the pine planks. The pine planks were just a smoke screen.

  2. Geof dondoza says:

    Aaa zoona vuto sionyamula koma osainilawo

  3. Time will tell says:

    The magistrate is well aware of all the things you are raising here. Si mbuli iwowa ayi. Kungoti panalowa ziphuphu. Tsoka kwa iwe magistrate

  4. banda says:

    i wonder why we have this ministry of forest???/ they are big idiots ever…..they are just eating our tax

  5. golo says:

    I agree with the Magistrate. The Police had no right to arrest the transporters. This duty is in the hands of Forestry Department. The Regional Forestry department issued the certificate and gave the consent for the drivers to transport wood, so is that their problem? The magistrate . He is simply discharging his duties according to facts brought before him.

  6. Asabuni says:

    only if u knew wat tsanya has done to Malawi…1.we dont have tsanya in Mw..those logs come from zambia and moz..they are just goods in transit.2 tsanya has brought alot of forex to this country more than tobbaco..find out..bwenzi pano dziko litagwa kale

  7. fula says:

    The magistrate has power to discharge an offender if there are exitinuating circumstances in the way an offence was committed. Blame the reporter for not understanding the law. There is difference between acquittal and discharge.

  8. Moyenda says:

    This Magistrate executed his job in the manner a village court would. He is a shame to the system, and must make an effort to shape in or shape out of it. He should have convicted the two, order re-possession of the logs, and further ordered corrective measures to ensure the Forestry department is accountable to the public. I have no doubt in my heart that the magistrate was corrupted. I am going to take this matter up as a private citizen. The battle is not over yet.

  9. Tengupenya says:

    Permit was for mbwanda, and the people are arrested for non mbwanda. Case was proven beyond reasonable doubt. Magistrate has erred in all principles. However, the magistrate has shone a bright light on some conjectural official corruption of the forestry officers who gave a permit for mbwanda with knowledge that non mbwanda was also being transferred. ACB Pali ntchito apa.

  10. MLOMWE says:

    Zokomera alomwe izi mwini truck waku phalombe,minister phalombe,wa police phalombe,president Thyolo.Asiyeni a Lomwe adyelere basi

  11. tzbvxhn says:

    legal presumptions

  12. mogasa club member says:

    comment yanga ili kuti? ndasiya nyasatimes. nyo!

  13. Patriot says:

    Alibe mulandu???
    I smell Mafia Mas….. here

  14. chimphonongo says:

    Zopusa basi mupite kwa nsundwe ku lilongwe mukapezaw a Malawi Defence force busy kulanda tsanya kupititsa kukamuzu barracks when akumapakila nkukagulitsa kunja
    Pamene mtengowu akuutenga kunja stupid malawians nyanjaw iyi ikutikanika kugwiritsa ntchiro ,zaziiiiii pitani ku police you will find tsanya akutulutsa a police and amry

  15. nyamako says:

    law ya pa chanco ikutipweteka amalawi. can’t we outsource lawyers and judges from zambia, botswana or zimbabwe please?


    you think these little kwachas that the mwenyes give you are worth selling your country, but it’s your children and your children’s children that will pay for your sins. pamenepa watembelela ntundu onse wakwanu.

  16. lackison says:

    Hmmmm magistrate u failed to interpret the law, these guys got the permit but they new wat to do, these guys are from balaka and they are rich , money has exchanged hands, these guys pay in dollars if u don’t know

  17. gule says:

    Woweluza akumalawi hehehede. Ziphuphu basi. Its obvious kuti wazitapa ameneyo, nanga adya chani kodi. Dziko losauka ili

  18. Spectator. says:

    Apolice amagwira bwino nchito koma amakhoti aa mbola zomwe zikuononga Malawi. A chief justice achitepo kanthu pa Sibu ndithu.

  19. Bisenti Chombola says:

    So they’ve no case though they pleaded guilty? Why do public officers in Malawi act as if they’re detached and insensitive to national duty? Do they appreciate howw ling these indegenous trees take to mature?

  20. Mbuli says:

    What a Magistrate. Proof beyond reasonable doubt in strict sense. I think ma cash gate cases wa adzipita kumeneko kuti ma lawyer a bomawa adzikaonetsa ukatswiri wawo proving their cases instead of pleaded guilty. Osamangolongolora pa media.

  21. GRM says:

    Police cannot enforce civil statutes. Amangotinzunza awa. Mpang’ono pomwe alibe mandate kulanda makala. Ine ndiye samandilanda coz ndimawafunsa kuti malamulo ake ati? And whether Police can enforce civil law?
    VISILU Stupid.

  22. kachi says:

    Koma zodabwisa. pleaded guilty but set free….Corruption at its speaks.Agula ufulu.Ma magistrate ovesa chisoni mpaka kuperekanso truck ya tsanya ku ogwidwa.kkkk ku Malawi.ACB igwire ntchito.iyambile magistrate

  23. kachi says:

    Koma zodabwisa. pleaded guilty but set free….Corruption at its speaks.Agula ufulu.Ma magistrate ovesa chisoni mpaka kuperekanso truck ya tsanya ku ogwidwa.kkkk ku Malawi

  24. Mandela says:

    Majestrate sanadyepo apa

  25. Jamison Chagwa Lungu says:

    Ma rubbish business

  26. Bufalo Soldier says:

    Very very good judgment. You the police, why arresting innocent souls? Why do you act as if you know about everything while in the real sense there is little or nothing that you know. Where did these guys get the papers from? Does the forestry department not know what they do? You are failing to catch real thieves and instead you just harass innocent people. Watch out.

  27. LB says:

    Mr Magistrate sir, let me ask you a question: if the police catch a thief, and the thief pleads guilty, do you acquit the thief and put the blame on the owner of the stolen items blaming him/her of not being careful in taking care of his/her goods/items? Kodi muli ndi diploma ya ku College iti inu? You are a disgrace to the legal fraternity. Umbuli sitionetsa pagulu chonchi. Can someone plz take up the matter and appeal. Chonchi kuononga chilengedwe kungathe?

  28. Kwaali cha says:

    Do you acquit someone who has pleased guilty? Corruption at its best…

  29. cm says:

    Crazy magistrate! Akupatsapo zingati? They had permit to transport tsanya logs? Is that what was written on the permit? Sukulu udapita iwe ndi iti kodi??? The permit was for something else, iwowo apezeka with tsanya logs, what if having gotten the permit for pine planks that’s when they went kukapakira tsanya and use the pine planks to cover up? How do you blame the forestry officials on that?? Moreover, these guys pleaded guilty! Magistrate iwe udzafa mmphawi ndithu. Kandalama akupatsako utenga nako matsoka…

  30. Skyways lawyer says:

    Where do these people get their training? So if I have a documents to sell cigarettes but I substitute that with Chamba cigarettes I am not to blame? Do they know logic at all these fools? When it comes to committing crimes does the judge know the meaning of connivance?

  31. chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa says:

    Our country has been ruined because of such deals. How can you release the two when they pleaded guilty meaning they new they broke the laws. Are you judging them because the forestry officers deliberately gave them a certificate for soft wood. you should have punished them both. That’s why I always say there is no justice in this world especially Malawi. Just think of people who have fallen victims of having their charcoal confiscated. I was also amazed to see that Charcoal is being confiscated when the government pretty well know that we are having no electricity almost the whole day and you can cook food even for school children. Charcoal or fuel wood are only alternative for majority of Malawians. Please Forestry officers or you environmentalists . Revisit this case and take it back on board to a higher court and shame the devil. Please CSOs show that you care for the environment.

  32. nchunjumele says:

    malawi is so pathetic, meaning a judge adya nawo pamenepa, sitizatukuka nkhani zake zimenezi, chifukwa chowasiyila chopepela chenicheni

  33. motortrader says:

    Police please u should not have released the impounded truck. You must appeal as soon as possible if u delay these Tsanya logs will go to China. Did the Second Grade Magistrate investigate if the pine planks and the Tsanya were loaded from the same place? It is possible that they got permit to load pine planks but they smuggled in the Tsanya! That is why they were refusing to open the container. Stupid 2nd Grade Magistrate. They don’t have a permit for Tsanya full stop.

  34. john banda says:

    i do not agree with judgement because the transfer certificate he got was for planks of pine not indigenous logs hence mislead the officer contrary to chapter 63:01 section 69 (b). again if you wanted to a quit the person, the judge could have offloaded the tsanya logs & carry his pine planks. after all mW government banned the trafficking of the tsanya logs. is the judge in Malawi?

  35. KAMTEDZA says:

    There is some big fish behind these two youngsters. A nation’s ability to prosper directly correlates to the level of justice, honesty and sincerity. Where these are not available, there remains empty ndale talk about chitukuko.

  36. Mwethu says:

    But this in very wrong interpretation of the law. What sort of message are you sending to the crooks? Does the magistrate want to tell me that even if these people had bribed the forestry officer then they were not at fault because they had in possession a certificate to transport the logs? Which school of law teaches such interpretation of the law? How are we helping our police if magistrate are in the fore front misinterpreting the laws?
    I think MLS should take to task this magistrate, something is fishy here.


    That’s a good one.

  38. Good samaritan says:

    Hm! something fishy.. second grade magistrate?

  39. Ntchona says:

    good judgement

  40. Noxy says:

    Law does not favour ignorance! Hehehehe

Comments are closed.