The Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier, a Malawi Prison Service (MPS) warder and two others to 15 years imprisonment after they pleaded guilty to taking part in a robbery.
The four were involved in a robbery at a Chipiku shop in Nkhoma, Lilongwe last month.
Principal resident magistrate Patrick Chirwa said a soldier and prison officer should have been the last people to engage in crimes considering that they were entrusted with the security of the country.
Said the magistrate: “Yet, here we have them at the forefront using the skills and training they were entrusted with to terrorise their own beneficiaries. It is a very upsetting situation. For these reasons, I do not think a non-custodial sentence could serve the purpose in sentencing them.
“It is better for them to nurse their remorse while serving a long custodial sentence than for them to be let loose within the shortest period of time when the potential of them regrouping for further crimes is still in sight.”
Justifying the 15-year sentence for the first count and 11 years for the second, Chirwa said the offenders deserved more than the recommended 10 years imprisonment because they did not just brandish a dangerous weapon, but they used it to inflict three painful scars on a helpless victim.
Armed with a rifle from the MDF containing 19 rounds of ammunition, the court heard that soldier Noel Kabango, warder Nixon Banda and two other accomplices on August 26 this year invaded the Chipiku shop and hacked shop manager Anania Nkhoma on the forehead with an axe before going away with soap worth K7 200 and a mobile phone handset.
It was after the struggle and failure to get into the shop’s cash chest that Kabango shot the shop manager on each of his thighs, the court heard.
The quartet pleaded guilty to the offence to two counts of robbery which attract a maximum sentence of 14 years, but could extend to life imprisonment or death penalty if the offender was armed with a dangerous weapon.