* Steve Simusokwe (MCP), Smart Mwakayira (DPP) and Ngasalayumo Mwangonde (UTM)
* The judgment automatically means that the public positions which were held by these councilors have ceased
By Wakisa Myamba, MANA
Karonga First Grade Magistrate’s Court on Monday handed nine months suspended sentences to three Ward Councilors in Karonga after being found guilty on charges of abuse of office, theft and fraud.
The three are Steve Simusokwe for Chilanga Ward of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Smart Mwakayira for Rukuru of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Ngasalayumo Mwangonde (UTM) for Kapolo Ward.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) lawyers told the court that the three councilors dubiously sold land plots within the district’s main market in December, 2019.
The ACB lawyers prayed for stiffer sentences to the convicts to deter other duty bearers from engaging in illegal sales of public property.
But First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo concurred with defense lawyers that the three councilors needed lenient sentences because they were first offenders and had refunded all the money they collected from selling the plots.
He thus ordered the three to serve a 12 months’ custodial sentence but suspended it to nine months.
Senior Publicist for ACB, Egrita Ndala said in an interview that the bureau was satisfied with the judgment, saying: “The judgment automatically means that the public positions which were held by these councilors have ceased.”