K100 000 fine for selling  medical drugs illegally

Mzuzu Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court on Thursday ordered a 24-year-old man to pay K100 000 or in default, serve a one-year jail term for being found guilty of selling medical drugs illegally.

The court heard that on November 6, this year (2018), police in conjunction with the Medicines and Poisons Board arrested Richard Nyirenda following a tip that he was selling drugs without a license.

Selling medical drugs without a license is contrary to Section 45(1) of the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board Act.

Police Prosecutor Maurice Chimseu told the court that Nyirenda was plying a grocery business at Euthini Trading Centre in Mzimba District.

He said among Nyirenda’s stock, there were medical drugs which he was selling without a license from the Medicines and Poisons Board.

“We received an alert from members of the general public that Nyirenda was selling various assorted medical drugs in his grocery.

“Police together with officials from the Medicines and Poisons Board quickly rushed to the grocery and successfully managed to arrest him,” Chimseu said.

Appearing in court Thursday, Nyirenda pleaded guilty to the charge and this prompted Senior Resident Magistrate Fatsani Chitha to convict Nyirenda on his own plea of guilty.

In mitigation, Nyirenda pleaded with the court for a lenient sentence, saying he was just employed to be a shopkeeper and that he did not even know that the medical drugs he was selling were illegal.

Chatha then said despite the offender’s mitigating factors, the crime committed was a serious one since Nyirenda did not have required training to handle medical drugs, hence putting lives of many people at risk.

“Again, this trend of illegally selling medical drugs is fuelling medical drug shortage in the country’s public hospitals as many vendors are taking advantage of the same,” he said.

He, therefore, ordered Nyirenda to pay a sum of K100 000 cash on spot or in default serve 12 months imprisonment with hard labour to deter other would-be offenders.

The magistrate then ordered immediate return of the confiscated drugs to public hospitals.

Nyirenda, who managed to pay the fine on spot, hails from Katoto Village in Traditional Authority Chindi in Mzimba District.

In an interview outside the court, police prosecutor Chimseu said the owner of the shop, a Mr. Singini, is at large.

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