Two Lusaka men have seen sentenced to four months imprisonment with hard labour in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court for escaping from prison.

The two are; Hitler Kantu, 24, of Kafue and Lawrence Malambo of Kabanana compound.

Kantu escaped after he was assigned to apply fertilizer in the main garden at Lusaka Central prisons, while Malambo escaped after lying that he was going to use the toilet.

The matters came up before Magistrate K Sakwanda, Wednesday, for facts and sentencing.

Brief facts in Kantu’s matter are that; in May, 2015, the correctional facility officer based at Lusaka Central prison, was assigned to work with 30 prisoners at Lusaka Central main garden.

The prisoners were divided in three groups; others were applying fertilizer, others were spraying and the rest aerating crops.

Around 11:30 hours, the officer was informed by the captain that one inmate by the name of Hitler Kantu, amongst those applying fertilizer, was missing from the group.

A search was conducted but to no avail.

The matter was later reported to Kabwata police station and Kantu was later apprehended.

Asked whether the facts were correct, Kantu responded in the affirmative.

In mitigation, Kantu asked for forgiveness from the court, saying he was still young.

“I’m asking this court to forgive me. I’m still young. I’m asking the court to give me a sentence that I will manage,” Kantu pleaded.

But Magistrate Sakwanda sentenced him to four months imprisonment with hard labour, effective from the date of re-arrest.

Meanwhile, the brief facts in Malambo’s case are that; on May 15, 2018, a correctional facility officer at Lusaka Central prison was assigned to work with 10 inmates.

After working for about an hour, Malambo requested to go to the toilet.

The officer instructed the captain amongst the inmates to escort Malambo, but after 10 minutes, the captain came back alone and indicated that Malambo was not in the toilet.

A search was conducted but to no available.

After investigations, Malambo was apprehended.

Asked whether the facts were correct, Malambo admitted that they were correct.

In mitigation, the accused asked for leniency from the court, saying what he did was wrong.

He further said he wanted to see his family again and also continue going to school.

However, Magistrate Sakwanda sentenced him to four months imprisonment with hard labour after noting that escaping from custody had become rampant among inmates.

She added that she would be failing in her duties if she did not punish him to deter would-be offenders.

“I have heard what you said in mitigation. However, what you did was wrong [by] escaping from custody without authority. The whole essence of taking you to a correctional facility was to teach you a lesson and to deter you from committing another offence. This has become so rampant amongst the inmates, I will, therefore, be failing in my duties if I do not deter other would-be offenders. I sentence you to four months with hard labour with effect from the date of arrest,” ruled Magistrate Sakwanda.