FIFTEEN Bangladeshi nationals who were smuggled into Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been fined K3.6 million each or in default three months simple imprisonment for unlawful presence in the country.
And the driver of the truck in which the 15 were concealed has been committed to the High Court for sentencing.
The 15 were fined by Magistrate Ngonga Walubita upon their admission of the offence of unlawful presence in Zambia contrary to section 11 (3) as read together with section 56 (1) of the Immigration and Deportation Act no. 18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
They are Hosen Mohammed Monir, 20, student, Lipu Mahmoud, 30, farmer, Miah Mohammed, 20, student, Mohammed Shahidul, 31, unemployed, Nurul Alam, 34, business executive, Abu Said, 29, business executive, Hassan Kamrul, 22, student, Badsha Miah, 33, shopkeeper, Habib, 24, business executive.
Others are Miah Farid, 29, business executive, Miah Ponir, 20, student, Didarul Alam, 26, supervisor, Islam Nurul, 22, builder, Alam Nur, 31, farmer and Miah Salim, 28, business executive.
The 15 entered Zambia between July 17 and July 18 this year while hidden in a horse of a truck registration ACM 120 which was under the control of a Zambian national who drove them through Kasumbalesa border control without their passports being endorsed with lawful entry or authority from immigration to legalise their presence in Zambia.
Facts of the case were that the 15 were seen standing at Chilanga Cement near the turn-off from the Ndola/Kapiri Mposhi Road and alert security officers alerted the immigration who came to screen them and discovered that their passports were not endorsed.
They explained to the immigration officers that they were waiting for the truck driver who had gone into the Chilanga depot to have his truck cleared so that they could proceed with him to Lusaka.
They also confirmed that they had hidden on the same truck from Lubumbashi where the driver had agreed with a man who asked him to ferry them to another man in Lusaka and would be paid upon arrival.
In mitigation, they all pleaded with the court not to give them a custodial sentence but to send them back to Tangail, Bangladesh where they hailed from.
In another court, the driver of the Copacabana truck in which the 15 were ferried was committed to the High Court for sentencing as the offence he committed carried a minimum sentence of 15 years.
Principal resident magistrate Collins Lundah committed Mungule Shooba, 51, of 2761 Lubuto West after he admitted the offence of smuggling persons contrary to section 9 (1) of the Anti-human Trafficking Act no. 11 of 2008 of the Laws of Zambia.