A couple that stunned residents of Zomba city for selling a seven year old relation to a businessperson in the city has been convicted of human trafficking and subsequently sentenced to prison by the Chief Resident Magistrate Court.
The court heard that Jonathan Mkoma and his wife Veronica Malikebu sold the boy whom they had picked from the wife’s home in 2013 to businessman Joseph Samuel Kapinga at a K350,000 and received the money in two instalments.
They were arrested after an uncle to the boy reported the matter to police in Zomba upon getting unconvinced when the family explained to him that the boy had died of malaria.
The courtroom was engulfed with total silence and an air of anxiety when Senior Resident Magistrate Tamanda Nyimba read out the judgment on behalf of acting Chief Resident Magistrate Jean Kaira before which the case came.
The offence of human trafficking contravenes Sections 82 (a) and 83 of the Penal Code and attracts a maximum penalty of ten years IHL.
The Magistrate however gave Mkona five years Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) but four years and two months IHL to his wife.
The Magistrate said that the court had reduced the punishment because other than being first offenders, the two did not waste time of the court as they admitted to the charge, confessed and apologised.
The case attracted a large following that included business tycoons, civil society leaders and students from around the city.
Before passing judgement, the husband told the court in mitigation that he had acted out the stings of poverty while his wife said it was out of illness, and also sought the court’s lenience as first offenders.
The convicts come from Sadyalunda village in traditional authority Sawadi in Balaka district.
The case against of the businessman is still on.
The child is fit and well.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :