By Kaungu Ndumba
CHIEF resident magistrate Kenneth Mulife has sentenced two men to four years imprisonment for stealing powdered milk worth over K50,000 from a Parmalat warehouse in Lusaka.
Fortune Musonda, 36 and Gallen Mutila, 38, both unemployed, were convicted and sentenced on Friday after it was established that they committed a felony.
The allegation was that Musonda and Mutila, together with Pinars Sepito and Jimmy Phiri – who were acquitted – broke into a Parmalat warehouse in December 2014 and stole 75 by 25 kilogramme bags of powdered milk, and a bag of starch, altogether valued at K56,000, the property of Parmalat.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge but seven prosecution witnesses testified against them.
Delivering judgment, magistrate Mulife acquitted Sepito, a security guard at Parmalat as well as Phiri, a taxi driver saying no one saw the two men stealing.
He said Sepito was merely on duty guarding Parmalat premises when the crime was committed while Phiri was just hired by convicts.
Magistrate Mulife found Musonda and Mutila guilty, insisting that he had no hesitation that they were the thieves.
In mitigation, the duo pleaded for the court’s forgiveness.
They said they were breadwinners, with Mutila adding that his wife had just given birth hence sending him to jail would make his family suffer.
However, when passing sentence, magistrate Mulife said the wages of crime was punishment.
“If you indeed loved your families, you would have thought twice before stealing. You deserve punishment because the offence you committed is serious. Stealing is not good; work and earn your living. So I sentence the both of you to four years with hard labour,” said magistrate Mulife.