By Aliko Munde MANA

First Grade Magistrate Court in Chitipa, Tuesday ordered 24 Ethiopian nationals to pay a fine of K400 each or in default serve a two months’ jail term for entering the country illegally .

Sub Inspector Robert Chawinga told the court that on July 5, 2023, some Malawians informed Chisenga Police of the suspected illegal immigrants who were travelling in a minibus registration number BLK 9336 from Chitipa direction heading Nthalire.

Chawinga said that the law enforcers followed up the minibus to Wenya where the driver and his assistant upon noticing the Police abandoned the vehicle together with the illegal immigrants and escaped into the bush.

The suspects pleaded guilty to the offence of entering the country without documents, and were convicted on their own plea of guilty.

In mitigation, the convicts prayed for leniency saying they were just passing by the country on their way to South Africa.

But in his submission, Chawinga prayed for custodial sentences for the convicts to serve as a lesson to other would offenders of similar crimes and that such cases are becoming common hence the need for custodial sentence.

Passing the sentence, First Grade Magistrate Billy Ngosi, concurred with the state that cases of illegal immigrants are becoming common in the country.

Ngosi said that due to congestion and limited resources to carter for inmates the court was necessitated to give the convicts a fine of K400 each or in default serve a two months’ jail term.

The 24 illegal immigrants paid the fine and were repatriated back to their home country.

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