The Chipata Magistrates Court has awarded absolute discharge to 16 juvenile illegal immigrants after the appeared for trial.
The juvenile offenders appeared yesterday before Principal Resident Magistrate( PRM) Boniface Mwala and Magistrate Mercy Chabu pleaded guilty with one count of unlawful entry into Zambia contrary to Section 11(1) and Section(1) as read with Section 56(1) of the Immigration and Deportation Act Number 18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
Brief facts of the case are that on April 21,2022 at around 05:45 hours, the officers from the Department of Immigration received information that there were Ethiopian nationals who had been apprehended by the Zambia National Service (ZNS) in Kambani village under chief Chanje’s area in Chipata district.
Upon receiving the information, Department of Immigration Officers immediately formed up and proceeded to the named place and upon arrival, they found the ZNS officers with the Ethiopian nationals.
The Ethiopian nationals were handed over to the immigration officers who searched them in pursuant of travel documents of identity but they did not have any.
Investigations carried out further revealed that the Ethiopian nationals were allegedly to have been travelling on three motor vehicles which were intercepted by the ZNS officers namely Mitsubishi Challenger of registration number ALT 6333, Toyota Corolla of Registration number ACV 4988 and a Toyota RAV 4 of registration number ABJ 1737 respectively.
The 16 Ethiopian juveniles entered into Zambia using an illegal route other than the border.
And Chipata District juvenile inspector Christabel Sampa after an analysis gave recommendations to the Chipata Magistrates Courts that the juveniles before the court were first offenders though the offence committed was very serious.
Ms Sampa said cases of unlawful entry are on the rise and one wonders how the scourge can he reduced.
“Your worship, having interviewed the juveniles, they said they acted out of peer pressure. The juveniles have learnt lessons during the time spent in remand.
“Your honour, considering the aforesaid and indeed looking at the best interest of the juvenile, I therefore recommend that the juvenile may be given an absolute discharge in accordance with the Juveniles Act Cap 53 of the Laws of Zambia,” she said.
And Magistrate Chabu when passing fined Emmanuel Alazer, 19, an Ethiopian national K500 as penalty for entering into Zambia without legal documentation or failure to which he will serve a jail sentence of three months.
Alazer was in the group of the 16 juveniles that illegally entered into Zambia.