The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has convicted and sentenced a 27-year-old Ugandan man to four years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing over K14,000 cash belonging to Pembe Flour Milling Company.

The convict is said to have cornered Francis Tembo, a sales man at the said company, when he saw him heading to Stanbic Bank to deposit money after selling mealie meal.

The convict then splashed some powdery substance on the salesman which made him pass out.

Sentencing the convict, Lusaka Magistrate Felix Kaoma said he would not allow foreigners to dent the country’s image by crossing borders to steal.

In this matter, Robert Chipungu and Joe Mwale were jointly charged with two counts of theft but Mwale was acquitted at case to answer stage.

Particulars of the offence in count one were that Chipungu on March 15, this year in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown, stole K14,465.00 cash, property of Pembe Flour Milling Company.

In count two, Chipungu on the same day stole a Huawei phone, property of Tembo.

According to evidence before court, on the material day, Tembo went into town to sell mealie meal, after which he decided to go and deposit the money at Stanbic Bank, Matero branch.

But Chipungu, who Tembo already knew as he used to buy mealie meal from him, called him by his name and told him that he needed to buy some bags of mealie meal.

Chipungu told Tembo that he needed to go with him to his house behind Shoprite because that was where the money was.

He invited him to get into a motor vehicle he was in, but along the way, splashed some powdered substance which made Tembo sleep.

Upon waking up, Tembo realized he was in an unfinished building in Chilanga, the following day, and the company money was missing.

He found the bag which had money on him but did not find the K14,465.

Tembo’s phone was also missing.

He then reported the development to his employer and they went to check on Chipungu at his house in Matero but found that he had shifted.

Chipungu is said to have used some of the money to buy medicine from Uganda which allegedly helps users to get promoted at their work places.

He confirmed having gotten the money from Tembo.

And delivering his judgement, Wednesday, magistrate Kaoma found Chipungu guilty of theft and convicted him.

Passing his sentence, magistrate Kaoma said although Chipungu was a first offender, he was giving him a custodial sentence as the crime of theft was prevalent, especially among foreigners.

He added that as a court, he would not allow foreigners to be crossing borders and come to Zambia to steal and dent its image.

“All the way from Uganda, coming to Zambia to steal. You are the people denting the image of this country and we need to stop this,” said magistrate Kaoma.

He sentenced Chipungu to four years in count one and two years in count two, but the sentences would run concurrently effective the date of his arrest.