The First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Mponela, Dowa on 29 April 2021 sentenced a 33-year-old man, Charles Banda Chirwa, to one year imprisonment with hard labour for trafficking persons.
Chirwa on 24 November 2020 bolted after his lorry, which was ferrying 9 Ethiopians who had illegally entered Malawi through Karonga, was impounded at Mponela Trading Centre by a special team from the National Police Headquarters in conjunction with police from Mponela.
The state prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent Gladys Jentala, told the court that due to increasing cases of trafficking in persons the Malawi Police Service introduced a special team to fight the vice. She said on that particular day, the team received a tip-off that a Toyota Dyna registration number 6988 was carrying illegal immigrants heading to Lilongwe from Karonga.
The team ambushed the said lorry at Bua Trading Centre, but soon after noticing police presence the accused drove away up to Mponela Trading Centre where he abandoned the vehicle and bolted.
Police arrested the 29 Ethiopians who were in the vehicle and prosecuted them in Lilongwe. On 04 April 2021, Charles Banda Chirwa handed himself to Embangweni Police Unit in Mzimba for being responsible. He was then transferred to Mponela where he pleaded guilty before First Grade Magistrate Anthony Chimphonda Banda. He however asked the court for leniency as he has a big role in taking care of his family.
In his judgment, Banda said that the case committed was dangerous in nature and added that it has the potential of exposing lives of the victims to numerous threats. He later sentenced the convict to one year imprisonment with hard labour for trafficking in persons contravening Section 14 (1) of Trafficking in Persons Act.
Chirwa hails from Ngolokoto Village, T/A Wimbe in Kasungu.
By Kaitano Lubrino