NKHATABAY (Aliko Munde, Mana) – A 21 year old man, Arthur Mhone has been sentenced to 18 months Imprisonment with hard labour for fraudulently obtaining services from one of the lodges in Nkhata Bay by using false documents.
The Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate (FGM) sitting before First Grade Magistrate Billy Wankaya Ngosi heard that the suspect went to a lodge where he told its manageress that he is from Malawi Global Internet Union.
According to Inspector Evans Kamtukule, the suspect went further to tell the manageress that he (the accused) being the deputy director of the organization, had to come first and that his colleagues will arrive the next day.
The suspect then produced documents from his so called organization and from Police that would enable him to access lodge services and that payment was to be done later.
Inspector Kamtukule further told the court that the manageress went ahead to offer him a room, lunch and supper.
“Next morning, the manageress got suspicious as the suspect’s colleagues were nowhere to be seen. At this point, she demanded his earlier-produced documents and took them to police,” He explained.
At the police, the documents, especially those which looked to have been produced by Nkhata Bay Police were deemed fake since they had Post Office Box number 24 which was a wrong one because Nkhata Bay Police’s real Post Box number is 3.
The suspect was then arrested and charged with making false documents and making-off without payment contrary to section 364 (a) and 319 c (1) of the penal code.
Mhone pleaded guilty to the charges leveled against him and was convicted in his own plea of guilty.
In mitigation, the accused told the court he lost both parents some time back in addition to being asthmatic and therefore asked for forgiveness with a promise that he would never do what he did again.
“I’m asking the court to be lenient with me as I’m Asthmatic, therefore sending me to prison will just worsen my condition,” Mhone appealed.
In his submissions, Police Prosecutor Inspector Kamtukule said the accused deserved a stiffer custodial sentence because he was a crook.
“The young man was a crook in the sense that he managed to forge documents and that had he not been arrested early, he would have duped many,” Inspector Kamtukule said.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Ngosi concurred with what the Police Prosecutor said. He went further to label the accused a ‘fraudster’ or ‘trickster’ and said he deserved a stiffer custodial punishment to deter other would-be offenders.
He then sentenced the accused to 18 months Imprisonment with Hard Labour bearing in mind the fact that the convict was first offender and that he is relatively young.
Arthur Mhone hails from Maziwo Village in the area of Traditional Authority Tsabango in Lilongwe District.