By Petro Mkandawire
Mangochi Senior Resident Magistrate Court has sentenced Gift Makwinja, 22, to 18 months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) after being found guilty of stealing a cell phone and K147, 000 when working as an Airtel Money agent in the district.
The Court learnt through Mangochi Police Station Prosecutor, Sub Inspector, Margaret Mindozo said the theft was contrary to Section 272 as read with 278 of the Penal Code.
She told the court that Makwinja stole the cell phone and the cash from Rachel Robin on November 23, 2021 and was on the run until he was caught on July, 24, 2022.
“Makwinja was working as agent of Airtel Money for Rachel and he stole the phone and K147, 000 when was doing his daily transaction as Airtel Money agent and the accused escaped after he stole the money,” Mindozo added.
Makwinja pleaded guilty and admitted the charge which forced court to convict him on his plea of guilty.
In her submission, Mindozo asked for a stiff penalty, noting that that the accused committed a serious offence whose maximum sentence is five years.
According to Mindozo, a stiffer punishment would change his stealing behaviour, observing that theft was on the increase in Mangochi.
In mitigation, Makwinja asked the court to exercise leniency, stating that the court should do him some favour because he was young and that his future would be doomed once sent to prison.
Senior Resident Magistrate, Rodrick Michongwe said what Makwinja did was a crime deserving custodial sentence, adding that this made Rachel to lose trust in people to employ as agents.
He sentenced Makwinja to 18 months IHL which translated to one year and six months and the sentence commenced on day of his arrest.
Makwinja comes from Kalonga Village in Traditional Authority (TA) Mponda in the district.