The Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Zomba has sentenced a 26 year old man to three months in prison for attempting to snatch a cash envelope from President Peter Mutharika.
The court also ordered the culprit Francis Itende, to pay a K3,000 fine for the same offence.
State Prosecutor Superintendent Solomon Gomezgani Mchawi told the court that Itende committed the offence on December 23, 2017 at Songani Trading Center in Zomba District.
Superintendent Mchawi said this happened when Mutharika had a stopover at the trading center on his way to Mangochi.
“Upon arrival at Songani Trading Centre, the President thought of greeting Democratic Progressive Party women who were gathered there.”
“In the process, the President produced an envelope that contained undisclosed amount of money which he wanted to give it to the women but Itende rushed in, in an attempt to snatch the envelope,” Superintendent Mchawi told the jam packed court.
He disclosed that Itende was arrested immediately by the security details.
The suspect was then charged with the offence of Conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
Itende pleaded not guilty to the charge a development that made the state to parade witnesses.
Following the evidence tendered by the State, the court found the suspect guilty and consequently convicted him.
In his submission before sentence, Superintendent Mchawi prayed to the court to consider giving the convict a stiffer custodial sentence considering the nature of the offence.
“The head of State deserves respect and protection and what Itende did compromised the state security,” Mchawi added.
Passing sentence, Chief Resident Magistrate Texious Masoamphambe said the imposition of a punishment should meet the requirements of the law.
He therefore concurred with the state on the imposition of the stiffer custodial sentence.
Masoamphambe said the manner the offence was committed is aggravated as it involves the head of state and this could lead to public disorder had it not been for the security details to arrest him.
“I therefore order the convict to pay a fine of K 3,000 and serve a 3 months custodial sentence. I have given you such a sentence so that it should be a lesson to you and would be offenders,” added Masoamphambe.
Itende has since paid the K3000 fine and what remains is for him to serve a three months custodial sentence.
He comes from Katsakaminga village, Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza in Dedza district but was residing at Songani Trading Centre with his parents.