A Roman Catholic Church priest has been jailed for 17 years by Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate Court after being convicted for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.
Father Numeri Mweta, 39, of Lisanjala Parish under Zomba Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church was Monday found guility and convicted of abduction, defilement and procuration of the 15-year-old girl.
Magistrate Rodrick Michongwe passing sentence on Thursday March 14 2019 imposed a lengthy custodial sentence for the priest.
He jailed Fr Mweta two years for abduction offence, five years for defilement and 10 years for procuration of the 15-year-old girl.
The sentences will run concurrently, ruled the court.
The court learnt that on July 19 to 21 2018, the girl went missing from her home and that on July 21 she went to her aunt’s home where she pleaded with her to seek forgiveness from her parents, revealing that during the days she was missing, she was with the priest.
The priest is said to have offered the victim’s father a bundle of K2 0000 banknotes to withdraw the case, bu the father rejected the offer.
In her testimony, the girl confessed that the relationship with the priest started in July 2018.
She said he rented her a house at Liwonde and later moved her to Balaka, Lilongwe and back to Zomba as she was pregnant and wanted the girl to be close to her parent’s home.
But in his defence, the priest said he was conviced that the girl was a grown-up as her national identity (ID) card indicated she was born on January 4 2001 contrary to her birth certificate which indicated she was born on January 4 2003.
Patrick Chambuluka who successfuly prosecuted the matter said he was pleased with the stiff punishment, saying as a priest, Mweta should have been preaching child protection.
Mweta’s lawyer, Timothy Chirwa, could not immediately comment if there will be an appeal.