A 41 year-old man of Chipata Compound has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment with hard labour for breaking into the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court complex and stealing K16,000 cash and two cells phones.
And principal magistrate David Simusamba has ordered that the recovered money should go to government revenue while the items should be handed over to the respective owners.
In this matter, Chipungu was charged with one count of breaking into a building and committing felony.
Particulars of the offence were that on January 25, this year, Derrick Chipungu with intent to steal, broke into the new Lusaka Magistrates’ complex building and stole K16,026 cash, one HTC phone and a Samsung phone, all together valued at K18,526.10.
He had pleaded guilty and only about K2,500 was recovered from him.
The matter came up, Monday, for facts and sentencing.
According to facts before court, on the material day, a security guard identified as Tom Banda who works at the Magistrates’ complex was conducting a routine check when he heard noise at the clerk of court office.
He went to report the matter at Ridgeway police station were he found constable Phiri who recorded the report.
The two then rushed back to the complex were the noise was coming from.
They discovered a broken lock and saw Chipungu who was hiding by the staircase, as he had heard them coming.
The two apprehended the accused and took him to Ridgeway police station.
Upon searching him he was found with cash amounting to K2,562.
The suspect was then charged for the subject offence and a warn and caution statement recorded, after which Chipungu admitted the charge.
In mitigation, Chipungu asked the court for leniency saying he was looking after his family.
He added that he was on TB medication.
“I am on Tuberculosis medication. I’m [also] married with three children and looking after my grandmother,” he said.
However, magistrate Simusamba sentenced him to nine years imprisonment with hard labour.
He further ordered that the recovered money should go to government revenue while the items should be handed over to their respective owners”.
“Considering the nature of the offence and the circumstances in which it was committed, I sentence you to nine years imprisonment with hard labour. The money recovered will go to government revenue and the other property recovered will be returned to the respective owners,” ruled magistrate Simusamba.