By Aliko Munde
Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate Court Tuesday sentenced a driver who claimed to be Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadet, for abduction of cyclist at gunpoint, to seven years Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL).
The jam packed court heard that Paul Chiwawa, 27, on April 15, 2019, was on his way to Lilongwe via Mzuzu when he was involved in an accident with a bicyclist, Austin Nkhwazi.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Senior Superintendent Moja Phiri told the court that Chiwawa overtaken Nkhwazi, who had a pillion passenger, before he blocked him ahead, resulting into Nkhwazi slamming into the car.
He said a side reflector of Chawawa’s vehicle got damaged in the process.
“This didn’t go down well with Chiwawa who immediately turned a pistol on Nkhwazi, threatening him to pay K150, 000 for the damage,” he told the court.
Senior Superintendent Phiri said the victim, despite pleading for mercy, was taken into the car and driven to undisclosed place.
He said Police intercepted the vehicle registration number NA 971 at Mkwiya Roadblock leading to Chiwawa’s arrest and the victim’s rescue.
“The Law enforcers recovered the firearm from Chiwawa,” Phiri said.
Chiwawa pleaded not guilty to three counts of intimidation, abduction and possession of a prohibited weapon.
The State paraded witnesses which testified against the convict.
Prosecutor Phiri asked the court to give harsh sentences to the convict, arguing that he was a threat and that all the three cases were a felony.
In mitigation, Chiwawa prayed for a leniency saying he was a first offender and a sole breadwinner in his family.
First Grade Magistrate, Robert Makaika laughed off the convict’s mitigation factors, describing them as baseless.
He lamented Chiwawa’s conduct, describing it inhumane.
“Threatening someone with a firearm, is an act which is very rare in the country,” Makaika said.
He went on sentencing Chiwawa to two years inprisonment for the first count of intimidation; five years for abduction and seven years imprisonment for possessing a prohibited weapon and the sentences would run concurrently.
Chiwawa hails from Kajula village in Traditional Authority (TA) Malanda in Nkhata Bay District.