Malawi Government has appealed against the Blantyre Magistrateâ€™s Courtâ€™s order that foreign currency, which was a subject of a crime, be converted to the Malawi kwacha and be returned to a convict.
Principal resident magistrate Innocent Nebi on Wednesday convicted a Nigerian evangelist Prince Chukwudi Agu for being found in possession of foreign currencies and was fined K200 000 (about $1 197) on three counts.
But in the appeal filed at the High Court in Blantyre on Thursday, State lawyer Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda wants the higher court to replace the fine with a custodial sentence.
The 42-year-old Nigerian faced three counts; being found at Chileka Airport in Blantyre in possession of $14 000 (about K2.3 million at the official exchange rate of K167), 28 000 rands [about K588 000] and 16 350 Mozambican Meiticas.
The court fined the Nigerian K100 000 for the first count and K50 000 each for the second and third counts.
In the appeal, Chakaka Nyirenda argued the magistrate erred in law in ordering that the foreign currency be converted into Malawi kwacha and the proceeds given back to the convict.
He argued the magistrate did not consider whether such an order had the effect of allowing the convict to benefit from his own crime or illegality.
Nyirenda argued that the magistrate misdirected himself in law in holding that the foreign currency should not be forfeited because the amount of the foreign currency was not huge when the amount the convict sought to externalise was above the maximum limit [$5 000] a traveller is allowed to carry.