The Itezhi Tezhi magistrates’ court has sentenced a 29-year-old man of Basanga area in Chief Musungwa’s area in Itezhi Tezhi district in Central Province to three years imprisonment for stealing 9,214 by 50 kg bags of white maize belonging to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
Magistrates Munalula Mubita convicted Nella Kasamu Cheelo, 29, of Basanga area in Chief Musungwa’s chiefdom after a lengthy trial which begun in 2013.
Cheelo, who was employed as depot clerk by FRA, stood charged with theft by servant contrary to Sections 278 and 272 of the Penal Code of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence are that Cheelo, on a day unknown but between 27 July 2012 and 9 December, 2012, in Itezhi Tezhi at Itezhi Tezhi district, being a person employed by FRA as a depot clerk, jointly while acting together with others unknown, did steal 9,214 by 50 kg bags of white maize together valued at K598, 910.00, property of the said FRA, his employer.
Cheelo pleaded not guilty to the offence but after many testimonies from witnesses brought by the prosecution, he was found guilty.
In mitigation, Cheelo pleaded for maximum leniency on grounds that he was a first offender, married and that he regretted his actions.
Delivering judgment, magistrate Mubita said, “The offence you committed was a serious one. Government bought that maize at huge public expense and for you to steal such a staggering number of bags you need to be punished,” he said.
‘I have noted that you are a first offender and you wasted the court’s time by pleading not guilty and that you are entitled to leniency but the offence of theft is too prevalent in Itezhi Tezhi district, therefore, the court will punish you to deter would-be offenders.
Magistrates Mubita then sentenced him to three years imprisonment with hard labour but informed him that the sentence is subject to high confirmation.
The sentence is with effect from October 15, 2015