21 April 2019
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Monday, 11 February 2019 14:34

Man jailed six months for three counts involving foreign currency and reserved minerals

Written by  Roselyn Phiri

Lilongwe, February 11, 2019: Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court this week convicted and sentenced Moinuddin Mohamed Igbar Sodogar, 37 to six months after being found guilty of three counts.

 

The State Prosecutor, Thomson Chafikana, said the accused was arrested on December 30, 2016 at Kamuzu International Airport by the airport police officers as he was about to board Ethiopian Airlines plane on his way to Dubai.

According to Airport Police Public Relations Officer, Sapulain Chitonde, upon searching him, the accused was found with foreign currency, 622,820 US Dollars, 15,860 Euros and £2,015(GBP) which he wanted to take outside Malawi.

“That time, it was equivalent to over half a billion Kwacha (K500 million). He was also found with 15 pieces of Gold weighing 13.74 kilograms valued at over K371.9 million without license,” Chitonde said.

The State, through Chafikana, asked the court to pass an immediate custodial sentence, saying though the offences were finable, a fine would not deter other would-be offenders, hence the need for custodial sentence.

Chafikana further wondered what impact there would be if the currency was successfully taken outside Malawi, he said the country’s economy would have suffered. He added that the offences were planned as evidenced by how the accused concealed the currency and Gold, just to mention a few elements associated with the offences.

The State prosecutor also applied to the court to forfeit the foreign currency and Gold.

However, the defending Counsel Wapona Kita prayed to the Court to fine the accused so that the money could be given back to the accused.

The court, therefore, sentenced the accused to six months for the first count of illegal possession of foreign currency, four months IHL for the second count of attempting to export foreign currency and another four months IHL for the 3rd count of being found in possession of reserved minerals without permission. Three sentences will run concurrently.

The court has further forfeited the foreign currency and Gold to the Malawi Government. The accused, Moinuddin Sodogar, an Indian National and a business man, is now at Maula.

Meanwhile, Lilongwe Airport Police has issued a stain warning to would-be offenders they risk being arrested if they attempt to commit a similar crime.

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