John Laing man jailed 6 months for stealing cooking oil

By Staff Reporter
A 31-YEAR-OLD man of John Laing township in Lusaka has been sentenced to six months imprisonment with hard labour for stealing 20 litres of cooking oil worth over K335.
James Chali was charged with theft and allegations were that he stole cooking oil worth K335 from Francis Zulu on July 8 this year.
Chali pleaded guilty when he appeared before magistrate Army Masoja.
Asked why he stole the oil, Chali said he was hungry.
“So you wanted to drink the cooking oil?” magistrate Masoja asked.
Chali in response said he wanted to sale it so that he could have some money.
He however, said he did not have authority to steal or a claim of right to the oil.
According to facts read by senior public prosecutor Sipiwe Malundu, on July 8 this year, Zulu, a businessman, was at his shop around 09:00 hours where he was selling his merchandise.
Chali went into Zulu’s shop and started asking for prices of goods but the latter did not respond because he was busy attending to other clients.
The court heard that Chali took advantage of the congestion in the shop and got a 20 litres of cooking oil and left the shop.
He was only intercepted when leaving the shop after Zulu’s brother-in-law Henry Nkhoma saw him.
Nkhoma asked Zulu if he had sold any cooking oil but he got a negative response.
It was heard that Nkhoma then ran after Chali to get the cooking oil he stole.
Chali was apprehended and the matter was reported to John Laing Police Station where a detective inspector took up the matter and instituted investigations which led to his formal arrest and prosecution.
Under warn and caution statement, Chali gave a free and voluntary reply admitting the charge.
The magistrate convicted Chali after he admitted that the facts read in court were true and correct.
In mitigation, Chali asked for leniency, saying he is a first offender and promised never to steal again.
“The devil influenced me, that’s why I stole,” Chali said.
Magistrate Masoja told Chali to stop accusing the devil and sentenced him to six months with hard labour.
Meanwhile, a police  officer at Copperbelt division head quarters has pleaded not  guilty to possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime and money laundering involving over K326,000.
Elvis Haatila, 43 of Jacaranda Villa in Ndola, is jointly charged with Double Q Surfaces Mining and Trading Limited of Bupingolo Avenue in Ndola.
In count one, it is alleged that between June 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015, Haatila had K50,000 held at  Cavmont Bank account number 800000280025, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In the second count,  it is alleged that between the same period,  Haatila and Double Q Surfaces Mining Limited had US$23,007.14( about K276,085) in bank account number 800000225606 held at Cavmont Bank, property reasonably suspected to have been stolen.
The third count alleges that between the same dates, Haatila and Double Q Surfaces Mining Limited engaged in transaction that involved US$23,00.14, property acquired from an illegal activity.
When the matter came up  for plea before Lusaka chief resident magistrate Lameck Mwale, Haatila pleaded not guilty.
The representative from Double Q Surfaces Mining and Trading Limited was not present in court.
The matter was adjourned to August 28 for trial.