By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
A-29-year-old Zambian Truck Driver has been convicted by the Department of Immigration in Chipata for assisting 77 Ethiopians to enter Zambia illegally.
The Immigration arrested Lazarous Phiri on January 14, 2022 and convicted him for assisting 77 Ethiopians to enter Zambia illegally.
The Immigration’s Public Relations officer Namati Nshinka said that Phiri was also apprehended on October 23, 2021 in Chadiza District in with a similar case involving the illegal entry into Zambia of 48 Ethiopians intercepted in Chadiza and Sindamisale.
Mr Nshinka said Phiri was on April 21, 2021, positively identified as the Driver of the Truck with Horse registration number BAL 9254 and Trailer Registration number BAB 5570.
He said the Truck was carrying 77 Ethiopians who entered Zambia without lawful documents but the now-convict managed to flee the scene.
Mr Nshinka said that on November, 12, 2021, Phiri was formally charged for having unlawfully and knowingly assisted the 77 Ethiopian nationals who entered Zambia without lawful documents by providing them transportation.
“He was sentenced to pay a fine of K 100,000 or in default 9 months imprisonment with hard labour and in addition to the fine, to serve 20 months imprisonment with hard labour, both sentences to run concurrently.
Meanwhile the 77 Ethiopians were earlier prosecuted and convicted for illegal entry and unlawful stay and were subsequently removed from the country after serving their sentences.
Mr Nshinka also said that this brings the number of convictions secured by the Department of Immigration between January14 and 17, 2022 to 17.
“During this period the Department also apprehended 53 persons for various immigration offences, removed 40 illegal immigrants from the country and refused eight foreign nationals entry into the country for failing to meet entry requirements,” he said.
Mr Nshinka said that the conviction of Mr Phiri should serve as a warning to Drivers who are in the habit of assisting illegal immigrants.
He also advised motor vehicle owners to warn drivers of their vehicles to desist from using the vehicles in the commission of offences as they risk losing such vehicles to the state.