Thirteen people have been convicted by the Chipata Magistrate Court sitting at Mfuwe under Mambwe District for various offences relating to trafficking in loose cannabis, cannabis seeds and unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants.
Of the thirteen, seven (7) have been sentenced to two years for trafficking in 11.0824 tonnes of loose cannabis and one year for cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 94 tonnes with the sentences to run concurrently.
The seven are identified as Stanley Kazembe, 50, popularly known as “satana”, Madson Manda, 31, Maxson Chilando, 43 of Kamwendo village while others are Bishirt Banda, 65, Zeddy Mumba, 44, Rudoh Ngosa, 25 and Desho Mwape, 25, of Mumpamanzi village.
Others convicted in the same court include Febby Banda, 54, who has been sentenced to one year simple imprisonment for the same charges while five juveniles have since been placed on probation for one year under the Mpika Social Welfare Office.
The thirteen convicts were nabbed in four major operations conducted by DEC, Zambia Police and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in the area leading to the discovery of several fields of cannabis believed to be supplying various towns in Lusaka, Copperbelt and Eastern Provinces.
The contraband has since been destroyed in an exercise conducted in Mfuwe on Sunday, 21st October, 2018 witnessed by DEC officers, the Senior Clerk of Court, officers from the Ministry of Health, Zambia Police, National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) as well as the Department of National Parks and Wildlife
Meanwhile, the court has further sentenced Zeddy Mumba to 18 months for trafficking in 186.4 kilograms of dry loose cannabis while two juveniles he was jointly charged with have been put on one year probation.
Other sentences include Stanley Kazembe and wife Febby Banda who have been sentenced to 3 years and 2 years respectively for trafficking in 136.5 kilograms of dry loose cannabis while Rudoh Ngosa, Desho Mwape and Madson Manda have been sentenced to 4 months and Maxson Chilando to two weeks with hard labour for trafficking in 0.9 grams of loose cannabis with all the sentences to run concurrently.
In passing the judgements, Magistrate Lubutwe Hara said she had taken note of the sensitisation conducted by the Commission in the area since 2012 with government officials, including the Minister of Home Affairs and DEC Commissioner having taken time to visit the village to persuade the people from cultivating cannabis and that the sentences should serve as a deterrent to would be offenders.