4 men sentenced over forestry offenses – Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

4 men sentenced over forestry offenses

Phalombe First Grade Magistrate Court has convicted and sentenced four men from Mulanje District and two from Chiradzulu District to four years’ imprisonment for contravening forest regulations.

The men from Mulanje include Alfred Kalinde ,18, from Kandulu Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Ndanga, Davie Mpote ,18, from Mchiwa Village, T/A Mkanda, Chikondi Mkumbira, 28, from Muliya Village, T/A Juma and Blessings Courage, 23, from Bakili Village, T/A Ndanga.

The other two are Peter James, 25, from Kaposa Village in the area of T/A Ntchema and Evance Gowero, 40, from T/A Mpama’s Kahola Village, both from Chiradzulu.

State Prosecutor Sub-Inspector Dingiswayo Mbepula told the court that the six convicts were arrested during police and forest officials’ joint operation on April 29 in the fight against illegal cutting down of trees in protected forest reserve in Phalombe.

Appearing before First Grade Magistrate Leonard Mtosa, the six men pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against them and, in mitigation, they pleaded for leniency claiming they were first offenders.

In submission, Mbepula prayed for stiffer punishment to deter other would-be offenders.

Passing his judgement, Mtosa condemned the six for going against the law, and he sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour for the first count of being found in possession of forest produce without permit.

The court also gave them another two-year jail term for the second count of trafficking forest produce without permit.

In a related development, the same Phalombe First Grade Magistrate Court convicted and sentenced two men from Mulanje, Fadweck Timotemo, 25, and David Saiwala, 23, to four years’ imprisonment with hard labour for conveying weapons into a protected forest area without a permit.

The two were found cutting down trees from a protected forest and engaging in production of timber without a license and were arrested on April 30.

By Linda Likomwa

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