Zomba Senior Resident Magistrate Court has convicted and sentenced a 39 year old Gift Sitamba to 36 years imprisonment with hard labour for masterminding a series of armed robberies on top of another 15 years imprisonment he was currently serving.
Sitamba was convicted and sentenced to jail on Thursday alongside Muhammad Ali and Thomas Ali who got 30 years imprisonment with hard labour each for being accomplices in the crimes.
On January 19, the court already convicted them of armed robbery on other accounts.
Eastern region Prosecutor, Senior Superintendent, Dickens Mwambazi told the court that Sitamba and the two had terrorized a lot of people.
“They invaded Alphonsine Girishuti residence at Kalonga Village where they attacked her with a pistol on October 25, 2017. She was robbed of K100, 000 cash, a laptop computer and two cell phones. She was injured in the process.
“On December 13, 2017 the trio stormed a shop of Maisha John Paul at Gundaphiri in Mangochi where they shot him with a pistol before stealing from him Airtel vouchers and K400,000 cash.
“The three also shot a taxi bicycle operator as they attacked John Paul,” said Mwambazi.
Sitamba was arrested in Liwonde in Machinga where he was found with combat rifle with five rounds of ammunitions. Muhammadi Ali was arrested at Biriwiri in Ntcheu as he was trying to flee to South Africa while Thomas Ali was arrested in Mangochi.
Some of the stolen items which Sitamba stole were recovered in Nkhotakota, according to Mwambazi.
The three pleaded not guilty before the court such that the police were compelled to bring in nine witnesses that testified against them.
Senior Superintendent Mwambazi asked the court to give the three convicts long custodial sentence considering that they were a threat to society.
“These are not first offenders as they are currently serving 15 years imprisonment each for other armed robbery cases,” he said.
In mitigation the three asked the court to be lenient saying that they were already serving another jail sentence.
Acting Senior Resident Magistrate, Paul Chiotcha said the three deserved stiffer penalty considering the seriousness of the offences.
Chiotcha found them guilty of robbery contrary to section 39 of the penal code, acts intending to cause grievous harm contrary to section 235 and being found in possession of prohibited weapon contrary to section 16 of the Fire Arms Act.
He therefore said that Sitamba and his accomplices would first serve the 15 years imprisonment before starting serving the 36 and 30 years respectively.
Magistrate Chiotcha said the court was compelled to give such sentence so that it was a lesson to would be offenders.
Sitamba comes from Mphonde Village, Traditional Authority Mphonde in Nkhotakota while Muhammad Ali comes from Kwitinji Village, Traditional Authority Katuli in Mangochi and Thomas Ali comes from Kulimba Village, Traditional Authority Chowe in Mangochi.
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