Malawi court jails two women for attempting to sell human being

A magistrate court in Malawi’s lakeshore district of Nkhotakota has sentenced two women to four years imprisonment with hard labour for attempting to sell a fellow human being. The court has also freed a man whom the women implicated in the deal.

The duo was arrested on February, 3 2014 after a Nkhotakota based businessman, who the two women approached for their wicked trade, tipped the police about the impending transaction.

According to Police Prosecutor Lloyd Magweje, the suspects, a teenager Awena Chikumbi, 18 years old and Rose Kaisi (20), on February 2, this year at around 19:00hrs sent a text message to a businessman, a Mr. Ziyada, asking him to help them find market for their “products”.

The message read, “Musadabwe nambalai nkhani yake niyachidule ngati zingatheke mundifunileko munthu amene angathe kugula anthu” (Do not be surprised with this number, I wanted you to help me find clients to buy the human beings).

But upon receiving the message, the businessman, who owns Mawira Building and Plumbing Contractor, was shocked and immediately asked his wife to call the number and get detailed information.

The two parties agreed to meet the following day at Makwenda Village near Sani Trading Centre, which is along the M5 Road, some 10km from Nkhotakota Boma to seal the deal. The couple then reported the matter to Nkhotakota Police.

Prosecutor Magwenje said the following day, a group of five civilian police officers led by Nkhotakota Station Officer, Dacoster Jailosi, went to the arranged place where the two suspects were identified as described during the phone.

One of the five police officers, detective Bertha Gondwe, acted and pretended to be one of the expected buyers and upon meeting the suspects it was discovered that the women had four people whom they wanted to sell.

While the police detective was busy negotiating the prices, her colleagues appeared and arrested the two suspects who were later charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace contrary to section 181 of the penal code.

At the police, the suspects alleged that they were sent by 64-year-old, Peter Mlembelembe but upon hearing the case and investigating, Magistrate Chilowesa found the women guilty and freed Mlembelembe for lack of evidence that he was the one who sent the women.

Magistrate Chilowesa then went on to sentence Chikumbi and Kaisi to four years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) but reduced the punishment to 24 months suspended sentence.

“I have done this to deter would-be other offenders, this is a serious a case,” Chilowesa concluded.

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