Man jailed six years for stealing phone airtime

The Blantyre based man, Juma Mawindo has beensentenced to 72 months (six years) imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) by Blantyre Magistrates Court for stealing mobile phone airtime worth K900, 000.

Mawindo 26 years old and hails from Mchilamwela village T/A Mchilamwela in Thyolo was arrested in May this year after he, together with his friend currently on the run, attacked Limbani Ngoma, airtime vendor in Blantyre city, robbing him TNM, Airtel and MTL airtime.

According to facts presented in court, Mawindo on the evening of May 25 in accompanied by his friend, armed with panga knives and were driving a car, in Chilobwe, Blantyre threatened and attacked Ngoma on his way home before driving away with a bag of airtime amounting to K900, 000.

Mawindo is said to have sold the airtime, on the following day, to two people in Blantyre city, Winnie Kasenda and Mr. Makina-both vendors-who bought the airtime at K6, 000 and K9, 000 respectively.

The police with assistance of TNM officials, managed to trace the airtime and arrested Kasenda and Makina who led to the arrest of Mawindo.

Both Kasenda and Makina were part of the four witnesses who testified in court against Mawindo.

The court convicted Mawindo on Tuesday before passing its sentence on Wednesday.

In his mitigation, Mawindo asked for leniency being first offender and that he had a wife and a kid.

“I also look after deceased property and I would like the court to consider my testimony as well because whatever the case, I still stand by what I said,” Mawindo told the court in mitigation.

Mawindo had told the court earlier on that he bought the airtime at a price of K7,000 from unknown man at a Chibuku tarven in Zingangwa township.

Sentencing

In his judgement, Senior Residence Magistrate, Innocent Nebi said Mawindo had committed a serious offence contrary to Section 131 of the Penal Code and that he deserved stiff custodial sentence to deter other from committing similar offence.

“This is serious offence, which endangered the life of the complainant. And since it was committed by more than one person, it is clearly that the offence was carried after proper planning. And such cases of airtime theft have been come rampant therefore there is need for courts to impose stiff custodial sentence for the offenders,” Nebi said.

Nebi said the court considered Mawindo’s plea of being first offender and that it has been forced to ignore his mitigation due to the nature of the offence.

“Most of the stolen items were not recovered and the complainant said he has been affected gravely, but it is also to the notice of this court that the accused benefited from the crime; I therefore sentence you to 72 months imprisonment with hard labour. The sentence is with effect from day of arrest,” Nebi read out the sentence.

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