THE Chipata Magistrates’ Court has sentenced a 29-year-old man of Nabvutika Compound to five years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing an ambulance at Chipata Central Hospital.
Nathan Phiri was jointly charged for theft of a motor vehicle with his younger brother Jackson, who was subsequently acquitted by the court.
It was heard that on January 22, 2018 the duo jointly and whilst acting together stole a Toyota Land Cruiser (ambulance) registration number GRZ 160 CP valued at K650, 000, property of the Ministry of Health.
The prosecution called nine witnesses to prove its case.
Resident magistrate Boniface Mwala said after analyzing the evidence, the prosecution’s evidence did not link Jackson to the offence and acquitted him.
Magistrate Mwala said Nathan did not cross examine any witness during trial and that Jackson testified that after his brother stole the ambulance, he was telling his friends that he had found a job in government and that he was now doing fine.
He said Jackson further argued that he was implicated in the matter because he was not aware of what was happening and that he believed in his brother because he lied to him when he picked him up from home that he was going to Chipata Central Hospital to see his child who was sick.
Magistrate Mwala said Jackson further told the court that he had asked his brother why he was heading to Lusaka road instead of Chipata Central Hospital, but
that Nathan told him that he was going to pick up a driver at Chipata District Hospital.
He said according to evidence before the court, Nathan was mentally well when he stole the vehicle, because he produced some documents from the vehicle to the fuel attendant when he wanted to refuel.
Magistrate Mwala said a mentally ill person could not know that government officials produced certain documents when they wanted to refuel at the filling station.
He said Nathan’s mother, Betina Daka, also testified that her son did not suffer from any mental illness saying she could not know if he had been smoking marijuana because he lived in Mambwe district.
In mitigation, Nathan asked the court to exercise leniency saying he was married and keeping his family members, including his brother Jackson.
Magistrate Mwala said he had heard what Nathan said in mitigation but
said it was unfortunate because the convict stole a vehicle that was saving people’s lives.