Catholic priest slapped with 17-year jail term for defilement

A Catholic priest who abducted, assaulted and defiled a 15-year old girl in Zomba has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Numeri Mweta, a priest of Lisanjala parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Zomba was sentenced by the Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Zomba on Thursday.

He was charged with three counts of abduction, defilement and indecent assault.

State Prosecutor, Superintendent Patrick Chambuluka said the priest abducted the girl and rented her a house at Chinamwali Township in Zomba where the two were staying as husband and wife.

The issue came to light after a child rights organization, Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), got a tip that the 15 year old child went missing from her parents’ home on July 19, 2018.

YONECO in conjunction with the police then launched a man-hunt for the girl which later revealed that she was abducted by the priest.

Superintendent Chambuluka told the court that the priest was taking the child to various places like Balaka, Liwonde and Lilongwe for pleasure.

On November 30, 2018 the child went to Chinamwali police unit where she reported that she was being abused by the priest by among other issues beating her.

The priest was later arrested and taken to court where he was charged.

He was later found guilty of all the three counts on March 8, 2019 when he appeared before Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Zomba.

Superintendent Chambuluka asked the court to at least give the offender a minimum of 20 years so as to deter would be offenders.

Delivering its sentence, the court enlightened the issue that the future of the girl has been doomed as Mweta impregnated her and that immediately forced her out of school.

The court therefore sentenced the priest to 18-month imprisonment for the charge of abduction, 10 years for indecent assault and 17 years for defilement but all the sentences will run concurrently.

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