FOUR notorious Lusaka criminals, among them a 28-year-old woman, have been sentenced to five years imprisonment for theft from a motor vehicle.

The criminals robbed a Zambezi Portland Cement security guard, Francis Kinda out of over K130,000.

The security guard was sent by Zambezi Portland Cement managing director Gomeli Litana to withdraw the money and pay some workers on the company farm.

This is in a matter where Owen Msimanga, 48, of house number 161 in Matero, Norman Nguni, 47, of house number 1126 Chunga Lusaka, Charles Lunga, 45, of unmarked house in Matero, and Ethel Lyambai, 28, of house number 1772, Muchinga Road, in Chunga, Lusaka were charged with theft from motor vehicle.

Particulars of the offence were that the four, jointly and whilst acting together did steal K132,048, property of Gomeli Litana.

When the matter came up for plea before Ndola Principal Resident Magistrate Obbister Musukwa, Thursday, the four readily pleaded guilty to the charge.

Msimanga introduced himself as a business executive, Nguni as a business tycoon, Lunga as a vendor and Lyambai as a business lady.

The three men, who are all Zimbabwean Nationals, said they stole because they wanted to pay for their children’s school fees, while Lyambai said she wanted to use it for sustaining the family.

The state then read the facts of the case before court.

“Francis Kunda 34 of Flat number 12 Madur Court Shinde Street Town Centre, Ndola reported that while driving a Toyota Hilux black in colour, registration number BAA 2877, he was attacked by the four criminals who were armed with a pistol, and stole cash from him amounting to K132, 048. Kunda was sent by his employer to FNB Bank in town to withdraw money to pay workers who had worked at the company Farm. Kunda withdrew K132, 048, and went to the industrial area in Masala, to pay the farmers. While on his way, Kunda noticed a Toyota Allion trailing him,” facts read in brief.

“He decided to park his car at Industrial Post Office and went to address the Farmers. It was at this moment that one criminal got out of their car, went and broke the left front passenger window and got a bag containing money. When people saw what was happening, they shouted while the criminals rushed into their car Toyota Allion Registration number ADE 722 and sped off. Kunda and other good samaritans gave chase, the criminals lost control and hit into a stationery truck along Ndola-Kabwe Road.”

The four convicts said the facts were true and correct.

In mitigation, the four asked the court to forgive them because they did not waste the courts time.

But Magistrate Musukwa said cases of theft from motor vehicles were on the rise in Ndola.

“I have heard your mitigation, but it must be noted that you could have first thought of this before you acted. Cases of this nature are so high in the district and a custodial sentence is appropriate. For the first three accused, I sentence you to 5 years imprisonment with hard labour while the fourth accused I sentence you to 5 years simple imprisonment effective today,” said Magistrate Musukwa.