Liwonde transporter jailed six years for child abduction

Liwonde First Grade Magistrate Court on Saturday convicted and sentenced a 27 year – old transporter, Frank Namanja, to six years imprisonment with hard labour for abducting a six year – old girl which is contrary to section 78 (1) of Child Care, Protection And Justice Act.

Machinga Police Public Relations Officer, Constable Davie Sulumba confirmed the conviction of Namanja who hails from Nsamati Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka.

According to Sulumba, Machinga Police Station Prosecutor, Inspector Richard Kandeya told the court that the victim’s mother, Grace Peter lives in South Africa as such the victim was left in the custody of her Aunt Rose Beni who stays at Kachere in Blantyre.

“The victim had a heart problem and she was sent to South Africa for treatment. Early in September of 2017 the victim felt better and her mother met the convict who is a transporter and agreed to ferry the child freely to Kachere in Blantyre,” the court heard.

Kandeya added that the transporter arrived in Malawi the same month but did not hand over the child to her relatives at Kachere in Blantyre.

The court further learnt that the transporter instead demanded cash amounting to K120, 000.00 to release the girl child to which her mother obliged by sending K60, 000.00 to the offender.

“But Namanja still held on to the girl despite receiving the K60, 000.00 insisting that he would only surrender the little girl upon receipt of the total sum of money amounting to K120, 000.00,” according to Kandeya.

The matter was, therefore, reported to Limbe Police Station on November 25, 2017 and the suspect was arrested on November 26, 2017 by Machinga Police, according to Sulumba.

The court also learnt that the victim was unlawfully detained at the house of the offender in Liwonde Township for more than two months before she was rescued by police.

Earlier, Namanja pleaded not guilty and denied the charge of abduction which prompted the prosecution to parade five witnesses who implicated him beyond any reasonable doubt.

However, he asked the court to exercise leniency when passing sentence, pleading that he was the sole – bread winner for his household and that any custodial punishment would deprive his dependants of his support.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Jones Masula observed that the offence of child abduction was a serious one which deserved a meaningful punishment to serve as a lesson and a deterrent to other would – be offenders.

“It has come to the attention of the court that offences of child abduction not only involving those with albinism are on the increase which calls for stiff custodial sentences to bring sanity in society,” Masula charged.

He, therefore, sentenced Namanja to serve six years imprisonment with hard labour.

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