By Blessings Kapina – Mana.
Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Court Friday sentenced a minibus driver and his conductor to eight and four months in prison respectively, for obstructing Traffic Police Officer from conducting their duties.
The two are driver, Scot Zembeni, and conductor Elias Masinja.
Lilongwe Police Spokesperson, Foster Benjamin said that the Court heard from State Prosecutor Sergeant, Peter Sulani that on January 21,2020, the two parked a Toyota Hiace minibus, BW 8219, at Lizulu Flea Market before Traffic Police Officers tried to impound it for traffic offences.
“The two resisted and insulted the officers calling them “thieves” and threatened to set the Police Vehicle alight, if the Officers dared impound their minibus then the driver and his conductor sped off,’’ he said.
Benjamin said the Police officers went to the Road Traffic Directorate to check the owner of the minibus who immediately alerted officers at Dowa Roadblock which led to the arrest of the duo who were intercepted at the roadblock.
Zembeni was charged with three counts; obstructing police officers whilst on duty, failure to comply with traffic signal and driving a motor vehicle without a driver’s license while Masinja was charged with obstructing Police Officers whilst on duty and they both pleaded guilty
“The State asked for meaningful sentences to the accused despite being first offenders,’’ he said.
Senior Resident Magistrate, Florence Msekandiana reminded the accused that it was the mandate of Traffic Police Officers to check on vehicles and impound them where necessary.
She observed that the two, though first-time offenders, deserved custodial sentences without an option of a fine.
Magistrate Msekandiana condemned Zembeni for endangering lives of passengers since he was not fit to operate a minibus as he had no license and sentenced him to eight months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) before slapping Masinja to four months IHL.
She said this would not only deter the convicts from committing the same offense in future but it would serve as a lesson to others.
Zembeni, 29, hails from Kalusha Village while Masinja, 28, hails from Chivala Village both under Traditional Authority (TA) Mkukula in Dowa District.