FOR stealing a baby from the University Teaching Hospital two years ago, a judiciary employee, her mother and two nutrition demonstrators have been removed circulation.

As the guilty verdict and sentence were pronounced on the four women, their relatives broke out in loud cries dwindling their tear reserviours to lower levels than the Kariba Dam.

In this case, Nkunika, a stores officer in the Judiciary, Emily Hall, a nutrition demonstrator at UTH D block, Rebecca Mkandawire, a cleaner at UTH and Nelly Kasalo, a nutrition demonstrator at UTH D block, were charged with child stealing.

The four, on May 7, 2022, with intent to deprive Madalitso Banda, a parent, with lawful care of her child, stole her infant.

They were jointly charged with Nkunika’s mother, Grace Siska, who was charged with harbouring a stolen child.

It was reported that Nkunika offered UTH staff a meagre K3, 500 as their reward for helping her to steal the baby.

In delivering his judgement, magistrate Chrispin Hampungani found that Nkunika and her three abettors had intentions of robing Banda of the child as she was unconscious after giving birth.

He said the overt acts of the offense were that the convicts found themselves in the wrong ward at the wrong hour and getting a child from D-block and taking it to Kabanana compound.

Magistrate Hampungani said Siska was wrong to take and foster an infant that did not belong to her daughter.

He said Nkunika was guilty of child stealing as she stole a male child yet she had given birth to a girl who was still born and she signed for her cremation.

Magistrate Hampungani noted that Nkunika informed the police about the whereabouts of the child during painful interaction with Graphel Musamba’s men who had ordered her to ‘shut up and start talking’.

He also Emily Hall was positively identified by a witness who saw her giving the child to Nkunika who sat at the reception of D-block therefore she was guilty as charged.

Rebecca who is a maid at UTH was equally guilty of the charge because she hang back at the hospital up to 18:00 hours when her shift had ended at 13:00 hours.

The magistrate said the maid changed her uniform and left the hospital immediately the transaction was concluded and Nkunika was given the baby.

“She should have left at 13:00hours but she didn’t give reasons why she stayed upto 18:00 hours. She followed Nkunika the moment the transaction was done and changed her clothes in readiness to leave. I find her guilty and I convict her,”magistrate Hampungani said.

Meanwhile Kasalo was acquitted as there was no sufficient evidence linking her to the offense.

Nkunika’s mother was found guilty for helping her daughter by keeping a stolen child.

“Her intentions were fraudulent as she never intended to give the child to the rightful grandmother,” said magistrate Hampungani.

In mitigation Simbeye who represented Nkunika and her mother Siska asked the court to be lenient in meting out punishment and consider suspending the sentence that he would impose on his clients pursuant to Section 6 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) as they were remorseful for their actions.

Agrippa Malando who represented Hall pleaded with the Court no to send his client to jail as he had lost her job as a result of the conviction which was enough punishment.

“The child was found we pray that you consider it as a mitigating factor in exercising leniency,” said Malando.

Mkandawire adopted the submission by Simbeye.

In handing down his sentence magistrate Hampungani said though the convicts were first offenders their actions have caused mistrust in hospitals especially among expectant mother who feel it is safer giving birth at home.

“The offense attracts a maximum sentence of 14 years. It will be a mockery to Justice if I suspend the sentence. I hereby sentence Nkunika, Hall and Mkandawire to five years simple imprisonment and Siska to two years simple imprisonment effective today(May 7,2024) ,”ordered magistrate Hampungani.

Following the judgement the slay queen who gave birth six months ago and her fellow baby thieves who appeared ready to go to jail with their poor dressing and without their expensive artificial hair, were expressionless unlike Kasalo who collapsed countless times and surpassed Chishimba Kambwili, after she was let off the hook.

It was a sigh of relief for the nutrition demonstrator who attracted the attention of on lookers when she disrupted proceedings in different courts with her loud cry.

It had to take her lawyer Humphrey Mwale and elderly women to ask her to take deep breaths in order to calm her down.

CAPTION: Helpless relatives Grace the corridors of the Lusaka magistrates Court as they cry after rte court judgment.


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