Chikwawa — Chikwawa First Grade Magistrate's Court has convicted and sentenced 39-year-old Samson Zembere to three years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing soya flour from a community based childcare centre.
The court heard from State Prosecutor, Sergeant Danford Otala that Zembere between the night of February 18 and 19 broke into Senzo Community Based Childcare Centre and went away with eight bags of soya flour.
The police at Chapananga pursued the matter and received a tip from the suspect's father that his son possessed a bag of soya flour.
"Police recovered the bag, arrested the suspect and charged him with breaking into a building and committing a felony therein contrary to Section 311 Sub Section 1 of the Penal Code," Otala told the court.
Zembere, however, pleaded not guilty and denied the charge of breaking into a building and committing a crime therein. His denial of wrong doing, therefore, prompted the state to parade four witnesses who testified against him.
He was, therefore, found guilty based on the strength of evidence by the witnesses.
Prosecutor Otala, however, asked for a stiffer sentence despite the accused being the first offender.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Gladstone Chirundu concurred with the state, saying the convict had presented himself as a bad citizen by stealing from a childcare institution whose implication would leave children disadvantaged and without food.
Chirundu, therefore, convicted and sentenced Zembere to three years in jail, saying the punishment was meant to be a lesson to the convict and deter other would-be offenders from committing a similar offence.
In a related development, the same court has handed 19-year-old Sam Kasenga a three and half year jail term for the offence of housebreaking and theft.
The court heard that Kasenga stormed Chrissy Kaunga's house at Mpotazingwe Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kasisi where he stole a laptop, a bag and cash amounting to K25, 000.
It was heard in court that the incident occurred on April 01 while the owner was attending a church service.
Following police investigations, the items were recovered from a local beer drinking outlet at Dyeratu Trading Centre in the district.
Kasenga who was previously convicted on the same charges had his mitigations quashed considering that he was a habitual offender.
Magistrate Chirundu slapped Kasenga with a three and half year penalty on both counts of housebreaking and theft.
Zembere hails from Senzo Village in Traditional Authority Chapananga while Kasenga comes from Mtuwana Village in Traditional Authority Mulilima.