The First Grade Magistrate Court sitting at Chilobwe, Kasiya, in Lilongwe has sentenced two village heads and their six advisers to one year and six months imprisonment for handling a defilement case and charging the suspect a K150,000 fine.
Group Village Headwoman (GVH) Mkwekwete and Village Headman (VH) Mandindi and their six advisers; namely Chaseta Mussa, Justin Bisayi, Lambulira Kamtchotsa, Chipiliro John, Kiliniwero Chidzalo and Hadison Chafukira, were, on Friday last week, found guilty of conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses.
State Prosecutor Superintendent Chancy Chikhola of Kasiya Police Station told the court that, in November last year, GVH Mkwekwete’s brother defiled a 13-year-old girl in VH Mandindi’s area.
He said: “For fear of being arrested and prosecuted, the suspect fled from the village to unidentified location.
“On his return in February, the suspect urged his sister (GVH Mkwekwete) to convince VH Mandindi and the survivor’s parents to settle the matter at a traditional court.”
Following the hearing at VH Mandindi’s court, the suspect was found guilty and slapped with a K150,000 fine.
VH Mandindi got K50,000 and channeled K100,000 to the survivor as compensation.
“Kasiya Police detectives, however, got the matter and the case’s handlers arrested. The State, after parading two witnesses, prayed for a meaningful, custodial sentence,” Chikhola said.
“It argued the eight had violated the survivor’s rights by parading her in public in a case that they weren’t even supposed to handle.”
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Mervis Sulumba noted that the accused deliberately overstepped their mandate and did not take the best interest of the survivor.
Sulumba went ahead and sentenced the eight to a one-and-a-half-year imprisonment with hard labour.
The convicts, who are aged between 51 and 69, come from Mkwekwete and Mandindi villages in Traditional Authority Khongoni in Lilongwe District.