The Itezhi Tezhi Magistrates Court has convicted and sentenced 2 young farmers to 5 years in prison with hard labour for stealing 10 herds cattle worth K50, 000.
Itezhi Tezhi Magistrate Keggan Litia convicted GiftHamilumbe, 21, and Credius Hamaundu, 19, both of Mushimavillage in Chief Muwezwa’s Chiefdom in Itezhi Tezhi District of Central Province for stealing cattle.
The duo were arrested without a warrant on 11 April, 2020 and charged with stock theft, contrary to section 275 (2) of the penal code of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence are that the duo, on 23rd June 2020 in Itezhi Tezhi District in Central Province, jointly and whilst acting together, did steal 10 herds of cattle valued at K50, 000, the property of Bornwell Chilalu.
When the case came up for plea last week, the duo denied the charge and but to today, they made an application to change their plea by admitting the charge.
Facts were that the complainant, Bornwell Chilalu, 47, a farmer of Makunku area of Chief Muwezwa in Itezhi Tezhi who owns 60 herds of cattle on 23rd June 2020, at about 09:00 hours released his cattle for grazing in the plains but discovered that 10 had gone missing when he went to collect them in the evening.
A search for the animals were conducted but to no avail, when led to then son to the owner of the animals to report the matter to Mumbwa police Station a day later after he discovered that the animals had been sold to Mumbwa Golden Bull Abattoir.
The security officer at Golden Bull Abattoir, Teddy Katowacomfirmed that the animals were entered in the book at the gate by Gift Hamilumbe and Credius Hamaundu who are the accused.
Ahmed Hassan, Manager at Golden Bull Abattoir confirmed also to have bought the 10 heads of cattle from Hamilumbeand Hamaundu and the matter was reported to MumbwaPolice Station and later to Itezhi Tezhi police station were the cattle was valued at K50,000.
Acting on the report, Chief inspector Ndhlovu and Deputy Inspector Chinoya instituted investigations which led to the apprehension of the accused persons. Gift Hamilumbe was arrested in Livingstone whilst Credius Hamaundu was arrested in Muwezwa and the duo were interviewed separately and later arrested and jointly charged for the subject offence.
Senior State Prosecutor Luckson Ngoma said the duo had no justification to steal the cattle in question.
In mitigation Hamilumbe asked for forgiveness from the court as claimed to be the one responsible of taking care of his aged parents and that sending him to jail would make his parents suffer.
And his co-accused Hamaundu prayed for maximum leniency saying that he was still young, a pupil and that he stole in a bid to raise money for school fees adding that he still wants to further his education hence sending him to jail would spell doom on his future.
In sentencing the duo, Magistrates Litia said he paid attention to all what they said in mitigation.
“You all deserve leniency as you are first offenders and have not wasted the court’s time by pleading guilty. However the offence you committed is a very serious one which carries a prescribed sentence for which I have no authority to alter,” Magistrates Litia said
He then imposed a five year jail term with hard labour from the time they were arrested.