By Lovemore Khomo
The First Grade Magistrate Court sitting at Chilobwe, Kasiya, in Lilongwe has convicted and sentenced two village heads and their six advisers to one year and six months imprisonment for handling a defilement case and charging the suspect a K150,000 fine.
Lilongwe Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Foster Benjamin has identified the convicts as Group Village Headwoman (GVH) Mkwekwete, Village Headman (VH) Mandindi and their six advisers, namely Chaseta Mussa, Justin Bisayi, Lambulira Kamtchotsa, Chipiliro John, Kiliniwero Chidzalo and Hadison Chafukira, were on Friday found guilty of conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses.
Through State Prosecutor Superintendent Chancy Chikhola of Kasiya Police Station told the court that, in November last year, GVH Mkwekwete’s brother defiled a 13-year old girl in VH Mandindi’s area.
Fearing justice, the suspect whose name is yet to be known, fled from the village to unidentified location.
On his return in February, the suspect urged his sister (GVH Mkwekwete) to convince VH Mandindi and the victim’s parents to settle the matter at a traditional court.
Benjamin explained that following the hearing at VH Mandindi’s court, the suspect was found guilty and slapped with a K150,000 fine while VH Mandindi got K50,000 and channeled K100,000 to the victim as compensation.
Kasiya Police detectives, however, got the matter and the case’s handlers arrested.
The State, after parading two witnesses, prayed for a meaningful custodial sentence.
“It argued the eight had violated the victim’s rights by parading her in public in a case that they weren’t even supposed to handle.” said Benjamin.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Mervis Sulumba noted that the accused deliberately overstepped their mandate and didn’t take the best interest of the victim.
Sulumba went ahead and sentenced the eight to a one-and-a-half-year imprisonment with hard labour.
The convicts, who are aged between 51 and 69, come from Mkwekwete and Mandindi villages in Traditional Authority Khongoni in Lilongwe District.