By JULIUS PHIRI –
TWO men have been fined K2,500 each by the Vubwi Magistrates Court for attempting to smuggle 1,000 by 25 kilogramme bags of mealie-meal.
The court also ruled that the bags of mealie-meal should be forfeited to the State.
Appearing before Magistrate Pauline Mulenga on Tuesday was Masautso Tembo, a driver of a truck registration number NU 978 and Austin Banda, a lorry mate who were found with the 1,000 bags of mealie-meal along the Chigwe-Vubwi Road.
Particulars of the offence were that on April 9 this year around 21:30 hours whilst acting together, the duo carried the commodity while heading to Manota area near Malawi.
Upon reaching Msengeledzi Primary School, the duo found a check point mounted by the Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers who were part of the anti-smuggling taskforce.
The duo later after interrogation admitted to the officers that they wanted to smuggle the mealie-meal into Malawi.
In mitigation, the two pleaded with the court to exercise maximum leniency on them as they were the first offenders.
But when passing judgment, Ms Mulenga said the offence committed by the two was rampant in the country.
She convicted the two and fined them K 2,500 each to be paid by April 25 or in default three months simple imprisonment.
Ms Mulenga ruled that the mealie-meal should be forfeited to the State.
And Patriotic Front (PF) Petauke District youth chairperson, Jay Banda pleaded not guilty to two counts of assaulting Post Newspapers correspondent Peter Sukwa and his counterpart from Feel Free Radio station, Kelvin Phiri.
Ms Mulenga adjourned the matter to May 17 for commencement of trial.