Six women fined for possessing forest produce without licence
The Dowa First Grade Magistrate's Court sitting at Msongandeu Court on Friday, July 2 2021 convicted and sentenced six women to pay a fine of K100,000.00 each or in default serve 8 months imprisonment with hard labour for being found in possession of forest produce without a licence.
The court through state prosecutor Sergeant Regina Namankhwa Nyirenda heard that the convicts, Ulemu Dangalasi, 32, Kettie Kwenje, 40, Maggie Kalagho, 24, Mary Mulilima, 43, Agnes Yona, 34, and Memory Matandika, 51, were arrested on June 26 2021 at Mvera Roadblock in the district of Dowa after they were found in possession of 30 bags of charcoal each in a motor vehicle registration number BZ 9280 two tonner lorry without a licence.
Appearing before court, the convicts pleaded guilty to charges of being found in possession of forest produce (charcoal) without a licence.
In his submission, state prosecutor Sergeant Regina Namankhwa Nyirenda asked the court for a stiff punishment, saying the offences committed are serious in nature by destroying forest produce.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Amran Phiri concurred with the state's submission and sentenced each of them to pay a fine of K100,000. 00 or in default serve 8 months imprisonment with hard labour as a warning to other would-be offenders.
The women have since paid the fines.
In a related development, the same court has convicted and sentenced two men to pay a fine of K100,000.00 each or in default serve 8 months imprisonment with hard labour for being found in possession of forest produce without a licence.
The two, Steven Jacob, 35, Ruben Elliot Thonje, 34, were arrested at Mvera Roadblock in Dowa District after they were found in possession of 27 bags of charcoal without a licence.
The men have also since paid the fines while all the charcoal have been forfeited to the Malawi Government and all the motor vehicles used to transport the charcoal have been returned after full payment of the fines by the drivers.