ELEVEN Ethiopians have been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each with hard labour after they pleaded guilty to the offence of Consenting to being smuggled into Zambia.
The Lusaka High Court sentenced the 11 who included a woman yesterday after the 11 took plea to the offence which is contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
The 11 had also been sentenced to nine, six and three months for admitting the charge of failing to appear before the nearest Immigration office upon entering Zambia, contrary to the Immigration and Deportation Act.
The convicts who had been in custody would have their sentences run from the day of arrest in December last year.
High Court judge Mungeni Mulenga, however, reserved judgment to the 12th accused person Berenet Abebe because he had been hospitalised to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), and his judgment was set for September 7, this year.
This was in a case in which, Daboba Habibi, Amenule Desale, Tagasse Selamu, Abdulahi Debiso, Biruk Alimue, Hussein Rahima, (only female), Abdi Aliyi Ahmed, Mubarek Ahmed, Abdurah Mante, Muta Kasim and Arab Tajure had been convicted on the said charge.
In count one, the 12 were facing a charge of Consenting to being smuggled Contrary to Section 9 (1) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act Number 11 of 2008 of the Laws of Zambia.
In count two, the convicts pleaded guilty to failing to appear before the nearest Immigration officer upon entry into Zambia, contrary to Section 12(2) and Section 51(1) as read with Section 56 (1) of the Immigration and Deportation Act Number 18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
The convicts had earlier appeared before senior resident magistrate Aridah Chulu who could not pass sentence in the first count due to jurisdiction but sentenced them to various months in count one.
She then referred the matter to the High Court for sentencing in the first count where they were now jailed 15 years each with hard labour.
Facts before the court were that a group of Ethiopians left for South Africa where arrangements were made with an agent who was paid an undisclosed amount of money to take them to their desired destination.
The same agent on unknown dates but around December 2011 made the accused persons to cross borders without passing through the Immigration Department offices for their clearance as they were put in a container.
They then found themselves in Lusaka where they were apprehended and handed over to the Immigration and investigations revealed that the convicts had consented to being smuggled from Tanzania to Zambia.