Mangochi police

By Atibu Witness

The Mangochi First Grade Magistrate’s Court , on August 1, 2023 convicted and sentenced Eliya Chimwala, 44 and Maxwell Chimwala, 32, each to four years imprisonment with hard labour for contravening Forest Act regulations

The court through state prosecutor Inspector Shadreck Wisiki heard that a team of Mangochi Forest officials and police, on April 2, 2023 while patrolling around Namizimu Forest intercepted the two with 250 pieces of timbers worth K 1.7 million including weapons such as axes, saw and panga knives following a tip from members of the community.

Prosecutor Wisiki added that after being questioned, the convicts who had no authentic documents revealed that they were ferrying the timbers to Monkey-Bay, hence, being apprehended.

Appearing before court, all convicts pleaded not guilty to the five charges prompting the state to parade eight witnesses who proved the case beyond reasonable doubt .

In mitigation, they all asked for court’s leniency, saying they have family obligations.

In his submission, prosecutor Wisiki reminded the court that the convicts’ behaviour are some of the contributing factors to the nation’s climate change hence prayed for custodial penalties.

Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Roy Kakutu concurred with the state.

He therefore sentenced each of them to 2 years for entering into a protected area without a permit, 2 years for conveying weapons into a forest reserve without permit, 4 years for cutting down trees from forest reserve without permit, 2 years for being found in possession of produce without permit and another 2 years imprisonment with hard labour for trafficking forest produce without licence. All sentences to run concurrently .

Kakutu also ordered that all timbers and weapons to be forfeited to the Malawi Government.

The duo hail from Kwilasya village under Traditional Authority Namabvi in Mangochi District.

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