Teen boy  jailed 12 months ‘cried and apologised’ for conning Mzuzu Resident Magistrate

Two teenage boys who were arrested last week for forging documents and using them to solicit money from people appeared in court Monday where one denied the charge while the other showed remorse and apologized.

The teenagers (names withheld) were charged of forging introductory letters in the name of Likuni Private Secondary School and Lilongwe District Council endorsing them as orphans in dire need of school fees.

The 19-year-old who solicited K84, 700 from unsuspecting members of the public apologized for swindling Mzuzu Court’s Principal Resident Magistrate Gladys Gondwe out of her K5, 000.

State Prosecutor Sergeant Wyson Phiri told the Mzuzu Child Justice Court that the boys’ conduct was contrary to section 353 (d) (i) of the Penal Code.

He said the 19-year-old initially approached Gondwe with the documents on 15 October, 2014 at Mzuzu Shoprite and told her that the school fees was K70, 000 but had a shortfall of K5, 000.

“The magistrate gave him the K5, 000 and he assured her that he would go back to school immediately. He got her phone number and promised to call her as soon as he left for school,” Sergeant Phiri said.

He added that later in the evening, Gondwe received a phone call from the young man.

“She thought he wanted to tell her that he had left for school. But she was surprised that the boy referred to her as ‘sweetheart’, and the noise in the background indicated that he was calling from a drinking joint.

“When the magistrate asked him why he was referring to her as ‘sweetheart’, he cut the line after realizing that he had mistakenly dialed her number,” Sergeant Phiri told the court.

Phiri added that on 26 January, 2015, Gondwe was at Mzuzu Shoprite again and the boy approached her with the documents asking for money.

He said the boy did not recognize her but Gondwe recognized him and became suspicious. She advised him to meet her the following day and when they met, she was with a police officer who arrested him.

Phiri further explained that a day later, the boy was visited at the police custody by the colleague, 16, who carried a bag and looked suspicious.   He said when police searched the bag they found similar forged letters and arrested him, too.

However, the 16-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charge and his case will continue on a later day where the state will present more evidence.

After the 19-year-old pleaded guilty and was subsequently convicted, Phiri asked the court for a stiffer penalty saying such cases were rampant and had an effect of discouraging well-wishers from helping the genuine needy orphans.

“There are only two of us (with my younger brother) left in the family without any support. Please, forgive me. I promise that once set free, I will never commit a crime again. I will go to the village to do farming with my grandparents.

“I also apologize to the magistrate for what I did to her. I promise that I will never repeat this mistake,” said the boy in mitigation.

First Grade Magistrate Anthony Banda then adjourned the court to 1: 30 pm for sentencing.

Passing sentence in the afternoon in his chamber, Banda said he had taken into consideration both the boy’s mitigation factors and the prosecution’s request for a stiffer penalty.

He said the boy showed remorse by apologizing to Malawi Government, head teacher of Likuni Private, Lilongwe District Commissioner and to the Principal Resident Magistrate Gondwe for the misconduct.

Banda, however, said he concurred with the prosecution that the boy’s conduct would discourage people with a heart to assist from assisting the genuine needy.

“The maximum sentence for this offence is three years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL). But taking into account the mitigating factors, I will be lenient with you… You will serve 12 months.

“You will be sent to a prison for young offenders at Kachere in Lilongwe for you to be reformed. But upon release, you should be reformed. As you said earlier, after the release, go to the village and join your people in farming,” Banda said.-– Reporting by McCarthy Mwalwimba, Mana

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18 thoughts on “Teen boy  jailed 12 months ‘cried and apologised’ for conning Mzuzu Resident Magistrate”

  1. I’m not sure prison would be best for this boy. Why not make him do community service for the people he swindled? Ku prison akangomuchindako ku matako, give him edzi and make him a real stiff criminal

  2. Mwana Wapa Kakunde Nthalire says:

    Amafunika 3yrs. Wapanga history.

  3. Kakunde Nthalire says:

    Mwana ameneyo ndioopsya akubwera ngati Macholowe

  4. Frank mwepesa says:

    Ama milion aja ingokhala miyezi 6

  5. Mumangenso amend akudya ndalama za uranium zaka zonsezi.

  6. Mabungwe says:

    I met the boy in the then Standard Bank Executive Suite. In 2011. He was slim and smartly dressed. He had introductory letter from A Private School in Balaka. I gave him MK 5000 and I phoned the Headmaster indicated on the letter and told him to accept him and that I would go in person to pay the required fees. He accepted. After 3 days the boy called and said he was chased again and wanted the fees. I called the head and he confirmed that he had indeed chased him. Later on I started receiving demand calls from the Headmaster in Balaka but was surprised to learn that the boy could call from Likuni on the same number.
    I picked a CID Officer from area 18, and asked the boy to wait for the money at Area 3 Stage to Likuni. We asked him where he stays and said Likuni, with his grand parents. We drove to Likuni, but he could not take us to the house instead he began sobbing uncontrollably. We returned to area 18 Police and he kept on sobbing to the point where it was decided to let him go.

  7. patrick says:

    nanga okuba ma million aja muziwamanga zaka zingati?

  8. Mchewa wa pa dowa says:

    Zoovuta zedi mwanawe

  9. johni says:

    There are many more others lining up our streets doing the same thing. They have fake papers claiming they are mandated to raise money for some ailments. Surprisingly, they have been raising this money for many years and it has become a career or source of livelihood. Do those who issue them with such documents check if indeed these people are using the money for the intended purpose. There is this lady who used to beg at the junction to Kamba off the road to CI and she is now at Polytechnic traffic lights, she has been doing this for over five years. How different is she from a conman/woman?

  10. moya says:

    winanso ali pa post office mu limbe amangoti transport yamuperewera mumutenge

  11. Alungwana says:

    Sweet heart Gondwe!

  12. What is mature age by law in Malawi is a confused area. Voters age is something (18) , Marriage (mwati 16 mufuna ikhale 18?) , majority age (is it 21). Give us one age ……………?

  13. nyasatimes.com says:

    But why 12 months only??? Mind you, this is seed and once you treat it with kids gloves it will bear fruits too numerous for the country to handle. The boy deserves the full three years if we are to have responsible citizens of this country

  14. Marouane says:

    Akanatenganso uja amangopemph transport pa Ginery conner uja, daily transport

  15. Strangely i have met this boy in 2013 at City mall in Lilongwe. I remember going to the school and paying K15,000 exam fee but the headmaster or deputy headmaster whom i met told ne that the cashier wasnt around and that he would hold the money for the boy. Now im thinking; was he part if the deal? Does he send these boys to make money for him? I think this Likuni Private Secondary School need a thorough investigation….seriously!

  16. chilombo says:

    Why is he going to a prison for young offenders? He is 19,he’s an adult by law. Azikazunza azinzake uyu. A judge,kodi zaka zaukulu zinasintha? I know in Malawi a lot of people who are 18 and/or in their 20s do not consider themselves as adults that’s why they act immature and nkumangokhalabe pakhomo pamakolo without anything creative. Titukuka bwanji? Look at Justin Bieber,Jayden Smith and Willow Smith or Ikhosi Gomani. Ana koma akupanga zawo

  17. Tata says:

    I wish I could have seen these boy again ,idid meet him and in brotherly manner I advise him never to do that again having warned him of his conduct I hope now wakumbukira mau anga ,,,,,,, all the best mphwangaaa

  18. Limbani hammy mtanga says:

    Zakuonekera mwana iwe.

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