THE Kasama High Court has sentenced a 22-year-old fisherman of Chisanza village in Mpulungu to 40 years imprisonment with hard labour for setting on fire, a house belonging to a Community Crime Prevention Unity (CCPU) member, who had attempted to apprehend him for stealing from his (convict’s) own parents. Particulars are that Kennedy Mbao, on May 4, this year, in Mpulungu, willfully and unlawfully did set fire on the dwelling house of Richard Siwamezi, thereby destroying property worth K10,420.
The offence is contrary to section 328(a) of the Laws of Zambia.
Ndola High Court Judge Isaac Chali, sitting in Kasama last Monday, noted the high prevalence of offences of arson in Northern and Muchinga provinces.
He said he decided to hand Mbao a severe sentence to deter other criminally-minded people from committing similar offences.
“The minimum sentence for arson is 10 years and maximum is life imprisonment. Had it not been for the alertness of Mr Siwamezi and his wife, some lives could have been lost in that fire.
“As I pass the sentence, it is worth noting that offences of arson are becoming very prevalent in Northern and Muchinga provinces. I, therefore, sentence the accused to 40 years imprisonment with hard labour. The sentence shall run from May 8, 2015 when the accused was arrested,” Mr Justice Chali said.
During trial, Mr Siwamezi told the court that on May 3, 2015, Mbao’s relatives went to him, by virtue of being a member of the CCPU, and asked him to help in apprehending the convict for allegedly stealing household goods from his parents.
He said he managed to apprehend the accused and tied his hands with a rope. But as he was taking him to the village headman, Mbao managed to remove the rope and ran away.
“As he was running away, he warned me that I was going to face his wrath. He said he was going to burn my house,” Mr Siwamezi said.
The complainant further narrated that around 01.00 hours, whilst sleeping, he discovered that his house was on fire. When he rushed outside, he found Mbao standing, and upon searching him, he found him with a box of matches.
Mr Siwamezi then apprehended Mbao and took him to the police station.