Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 27-year-old man to two months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) or pay K5 000 (about $8) fine for chewing bank notes totalling K7 000 (about $11).
The court heard that on April 3 at around 7am Thoko Mbinga gave K8 000 (about $13) to Benjamin Nyirenda to buy some goods at a trading centre in the island district of Likoma.
However, at around 11am Mbinga was informed that Nyirenda was seen at a drinking joint and decided to follow him.
“When the accused saw Mbinga he started chewing it [the bank notes], thereby damaging the notes totalling K7 000,” police prosecutor Keston Chiona told the court.
Nyirenda pleaded guilty to the charge of damaging bank notes which is contrary to Section 23 (2) (c) of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Act. He was convicted on his own plea of guilt.
In mitigation, the accused told the court he was under the influence of alcohol when he committed the offence.
But first grade magistrate Billy Ngosi told Nyirenda that bank notes are owned by RBM and people are just users.
He fined Nyirenda K5 000 and ordered that in default he serves two months in jail.
Nyirenda, who failed to pay the fine, comes from Chilongoli Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mkumpha in Likoma District.