ZOMBA (Malawi NewsNow ) — The Zomba Magistrate’s Court has convicted businessperson Jonathan Kapinga, 50, and his sister Anne, 49, of a child trafficking offence while the Blantyre Magistrate Court has sentenced a child trafficker Mateyu Salikuchepa to two years imprisonment with hard labour for the nine counts of trafficking 21 children after being found guilty after prosecution satisified court with the standard of proof.
Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate Viva Nyimba said the weight of evidence agaist the convict,who was on July 29 arrested and charged with offences of trafficking 21 children from Mozambique to Mangochi for the purpose of using them as casual labourers in tobacco farms, was overwhelming.
“The evidence tendered in this court was overwhelming. I, therefore, found the accused guilty of each of the nine counts for transferring, receipt, harbouring, exploiting the children,” said Nyimba.
Nyimba said considering all the elements of child trafficking compounding with the evidence brought before the court, “it was convincing that the convict and Luka Chidothi had a common intention to traffic the children.”
However, Magistrate Nyimba said though the offence attracts life imprisonment, it applied the degree of mercy to impose a lesser sentence considering that a first offender deserves a suspended sentence.
In the Zomba court, brother and sister were accused of buying a six-year-old boy from Jonathan Mukona and his wife Veronica Malikebu in Zomba in 2013.
According to Zomba Police spokesperson Patricia Sipiliano said the boy was sold at K3.5 million and has been missing since.
Senior resident magistrate Jean Kaira said she convicted the two after the court examined testimonies from witnesses paraded by both the State and defence.
Sipiliano said the prosecution proved beyond doubt that a business transaction took place following testimony by State witness Mukona who told the court that they sold the child at K3.5 million, but the buyer only paid K250 000.
State prosecutor Dovico Makawa asked the court to hand the convicts a stiff sentence considering that the boy was still missing and it was not clear whether he is alive or not.
The court already convicted and sentenced Mukona and his wife to five and four years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) after they pleaded guilty to the offence of selling a child.