Malawi Soldier ordered to pay K1.2m, spared jail

The First Grade Magistrate Court in Mzuzu has ordered a convicted Soldier from Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu in to pay MK1.2 million as compensation to a man he disembowelled at Jombo Trading Centre on Christmas Day in 2012.

The convict is Corporal Davie Nganga of Matwika Village, Traditional Authority Nkanda in Mulanje District.

During sentencing on Monday, Magistrate Cuthbert Phiri told the jam packed Court that jailing Nganga would be a disservice to the victim despite the gravity of the case.

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: Helped the solider to get non custodial sentence
Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: Helped the solider to get non custodial sentence

“Firstly, the convict will work for the state and it is the state that will benefit. On top of the government has always had a problem in feeding its prisoners because of lack of money. The so called ‘cashgate’ has just exacerbated the situation,” Phiri said.

Phiri substituted the nine years imprisonment with hard labour sentence with the compensation after taking into consideration the convict’s mitigating factors and the victim’s circumstances.

He said the Court arrived at MK1.2 million as the cost for the construction of a model house to help the victim till his death.

There was an audible sigh of relief in the Court because many expected  Phiri to send Nganga to jail with no option for fine.

But defence lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company prayed to the Court that his client be allowed to pay the money in instalments over a three month period.

The State objected saying it would a mockery of justice to bargain on mode of payment.

“This is a criminal case and the Court’s substitution of the custodial sentence must not be taken lightly. If by that date the money is not paid I will be forced to revert to the custodial sentence,” Phiri warned.

Magistrate Phiri then ordered MK600,000 to be paid on the spot and the balance to be paid by February 27, 2013.

Nganga’s relations, fellow Soldiers and friends, who filled the courtroom and were stone silent when Phiri was reading the sentence, quickly raised the amount and paid in Court.

Corporal Nganga 34 attacked 38 year old Innocent Chandiwira because he had failed to pay for the booze he had taken at JCO Bottle store in the area.

Police said Nganga used a broken bottle for disembowelling Chandiwira. Chandiwira’s entrails were sutured back at Mzuzu Central Hospital.

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