Written by on June 11, 2019

CHINTU MALAMBO writes                                                 


A GENERAL worker of Situmbeko Village in Shibuyunji blamed Satan for stealing from a house while the occupants were away during the night.

But the court rubbished his lame excuse and sentenced him to four years imprisonment with hard labour.

Gibson Mukuka, 20, was making a mitigation statement after he was convicted of burgling a house and stealing a solar panel and other property worth over K3,000 by a Lusaka magistrates’ court.

He had been charged with burglary and theft.

On the night of March 22, 2019 in Shibuyunji, Mukuka broke into the house of Geoffrey Chipembi and stole a motor vehicle battery, radio cassette player and a solar panel all valued at K3,800.

When the matter came up for plea before magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Mukuka readily pleaded guilty to the offence.

Asked why he had stolen the property, Mukuka told magistrate Chanda the Devil had possessed him and instructed him to commit the crime.

“Siniziba mfumu yanga, Satana ndiye anani ngena. Ni pempako munikululukeko [I am sorry, your worship; it is Satan who entered me. Please forgive me],” he said.

On March 21 this year, the complainant, Mr Chipembi, and his family left his house and went to the next village to see a sick.

They left the house secure and locked.

During the night of March 22, 2019, his younger brother went to the house and discovered that the doors were wide open.

He checked around the house and found that some items had been stolen.

Since it had been raining, he followed the footsteps he found outside, which led him to the Mukuka’s home.

Mukuka’s mother informed him that he had gone to Nampundwe.

And when Mr Chipembi’s younger brother asked about the said property, the woman said she had seen Mukuka carry it as he left the house.

Mr Chipembi later identified his property.

He reported the matter to Shibuyunji police who later apprehended Mukuka after carrying out investigations.

Mukuka admitted stealing the items and selling them to unknown people in Nampundwe.

In mitigation, Mukuka pleaded for forgiveness and promised never to repeat what he had done.

He asked the court to consider that he was a first offender and an orphan who was looking after his grandmother.

However, magistrate Chanda said the offence was a serious one and that Mukuka was a dangerous criminal considering that it happened during the night when people were sleeping.

“People are working hard for their property and you just decide to steal, and it was during the night. You are a dangerous criminal. People get killed trying to defend their [own] property,” magistrate Chanda said.

“I will be failing in my duties if I do not send you to jail so that you change. I therefore sentence you to four years imprisonment with hard labour effective today (June 7, 2019),” she said.

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