Mchinji — Mchinji second grade magistrate on Thursday sentenced a Zambian national Gift Zulu (26) to 21 years imprisonment with hard labor for human trafficking.
The sentence comes barely two weeks after Stanley Matiya, 44, of Siniya village, traditional authority (TA) Mazengera in Lilongwe was sentenced to 116 years IHL for similar charges of transferring eleven people from villages under TAs Mazengera and Kalumbu in Lilongwe to Mozambique to work in tobacco farms.
Zulu was answering three counts of trafficking in persons, contrary to Section 14(1) of the Trafficking in Persons Act.
During the court hearing, the State through Constable Bertha Ngoma told Mchinji second grade magistrate court that on October 14, 2017, Mchinji Police Station received a tip off from members of the community that the convict was fraudulently transferring three people of the ages between 19 and 28 from Mbeza village, T/A Mlonyeni in the same district to Zambia for casual labour in maize farms.
In light of this, the police acted swiftly by mounting a road block at Kondowole village, along Mchinji- Mwami border road.
This led to the arrest of the convict who boarded a taxi together with the victims on their way to Zambia and the trafficked persons were rescued forthwith.
The convict pleaded guilty before court to the charges and asked for leniency considering that he was not aware that he was committing an offence and that it was his first time to be in conflict with the law.
When passing judgment, Second Grade Magistrate Gavanala Chiipanthenga stated that the offence committed by the convict attracts a custodial sentence. As such, he quashed the mitigating factors presented by the convict before slapping him with 7 years IHL on each count.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Gift Zulu hails from Sandwe village, Chief Sandwe in Petauke - Zambia.