The Senior Resident Magistrate Court sitting in Lilongwe has sentenced three men to seven years imprisonment for vandalizing of equipment worth K22.2 million belonging to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).
Lilongwe Police publicist Hastings Chigalu has identified the three as Michael Kambalame, 26, Umali Rashid, 35, and Chikafa Dzuwa, 41.
The sentence comes barely seven days after the court convicted them.
The three were arrested in Dzalanyama Forest Reserve on August 16 this year while on their motorcycles, each carrying rolls of ESCOM power cables.
In mitigation, the convicts unanimously prayed for the court’s leniency when passing its sentence, saying that they have families that depend on them.
However, Lilongwe Police Station Prosecutor Vincent Ntalawe, asked the court to slap the convicts with stiffer custodial sentences.
Ntalawe argued that the power suppler will need huge sums of money from the tax payer to restore the damage that was done by the convicts.
“Cases of this nature are rampant in Lilongwe and does not only negatively affect ESCOM as a company, but also other sectors such as the country’s economy and health,” explained Ntalawe.
Passing his sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate Shukran Kumbani concurred with the State on the high rate of such cases and the negative impact the vice has on the country’s development.
Kumbani observed that the convicts are enemies of both development and the society they live in hence the seven years imprisonment for each to serve as a deterrent to other would be offenders.