The Balaka First Grade Magistrate court in eastern Malawi has ordered five people to pay a fine of K210, 000.00 for being found in possession of as Indian hemp, locally known as chamba.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Christopher Nyirongo told the court that the suspects Boniface Brasho 23, Gift Banda 37, George Biliwita 22, Memory Banda 23 and Mayeso Misomali 30 were found with over 700 kilograms of the illegal herb on 6th April, 2016 within Balaka town.
“The suspects were traveling in motor vehicles Toyota Noah registration number NU 5035 and a Toyota Corolla registration number KA 4516 from Nkhotakota heading Zomba, and were intercepted within Balaka Town after the Police erected an abrupt road block,” he said.
The suspects pleaded guilty to the offence of being found in possession of Indian hemp and upon submission of the facts by the state.
Nyirongo asked the court to consider giving the suspects a stiffer sentence considering that “the suspect are not first offenders” as they were also convicted by the Salima Magistrate Court on the similar charge.
He said this shows that they are not changing hence the need for a stiffer sentence.
In their mitigation, the suspects pleaded for forgiveness saying they were doing this because of poverty and that they have children to look after.
Passing judgment, First Grade Magistrate Felix Mandala said the suspects deserved stiffer sentences and then ordered Boniface Brasho and George Biriweti to pay a fine of K60, 000.00 each and in default serve a 6 months custodial sentence.
The Magistrate also ordered Gift Banda, Memory Banda and Mayeso Misomali to pay a fine of K30, 000.00 each and in default serve a 3 months custodial sentence.
Mandala said he has given them such a sentence so that it should be lesson to them and would be offenders. The court has also ordered that the cannabis sativa be destroyed.
All the suspects paid the fines.
In a related development Police in Dowa this week arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion that he was cultivating Indian hemp.
Dowa Police spokesperson Richard Kaponda identified the suspecr as Luka Belewa.
He said police also uprooted the plant grown on about half an acre.
Kaponda said the suspect comes from Mtengowopota Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Msakambewa in the district.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :