Zomba Senior Residence Magistrate’s Court Tuesday convicted and sentenced three men to imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) after being found guilty of forging and possessing fake Malawian currency.
The suspects are Amos Phiri, 18, and Benjamin Pofera, 27 who hail from Nsangwe Village in the area of Chief Ngabu in Chikwawa and Alex Nyirenda, 25, who comes from Mateyu Village Traditional Authority Jalavikuwa in Mzimba District.
Eastern Region Police Prosecutor Superintendent Solomon Mchawi told the court the fake bank notes were discovered at Masaula Trading Centre in Zomba on July 18, 2017 where Pofela was using them for buying items and the community tipped off the police who arrested him on the same day.
“Nyirenda was found with a computer, printer, suspected to be used for forging money and fake K1000 bank notes totaling K116, 000 together with K2000 fake bank notes totaling K80, 000,”said Mchawi.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges prompting police to parade witnesses who testified against the accused.
But Mchawi said the police were convinced that fake currency was in circulation because Nyirenda was in 2016 sentenced to six months IHL by Blantyre Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nedi for committing a similar offence.
Following the evidence tendered in court by the police, the court found the accused persons guilty and convicted them accordingly.
In mitigation, the three asked for lenience, saying they are bread winners for their families.
Passing the sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate Wyson Nkhata agreed with the state’s proposal of custodial sentence considering the gravity of the offence.
“This crime is a serious one which can help bring down the economy of the country if left unchecked,” said the Magistrate.
He therefore sentenced Nyirenda to five years IHL for unlawful making or possessing papers and equipment to facilitate forgery contrary to Section 374 of the Penal Code.
The court further sentenced Phiri and Pofera to four years IHL each for being found with forged bank notes.
Pofela was also sentenced to another four years IHL for using the fake currency contrary to Section 23 of the Reserve Bank Act. But Pofera’s sentences will run concurrently.