Zomba Court acquits police officer of desertion charge

By Chisomo Phiri

The Zomba Principal Resident Magistrate Court has acquitted police officer Sub Inspector Gift Mbwenye who was suspected of desertion.

The police officer was arrested in January this year on the allegations that since 2016 he had been absent from his police post in Zomba without authority from his superiors and with no intention of returning to the police service.

When Mbwenye was taken to Court on 16 January 2024, he immediately sought help from the Legal Aid Bureau to represent him in Court.

Mbwenye and his lawyer

When granted legal aid, he was represented by Senior Legal Aid Advocate Martin Dalas with assistance from Assistant Legal Aid Officer Felister Kamtonga.

The prosecution paraded two witnesses, a former Human Resource Officer for Zomba police, and a police detective to prove their case.

Both witnesses testified that Mbwenye went away from his post in 2016 without authority and never went back to work.

In his defence, Mbwenye stated that he was during this time pursuing further studies, and his superiors were made aware of the situation.

Delivering judgement, the Court ruled that even though the prosecution had proved that Mbwenye left his post without authority, it had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had no intention of returning to his post in the police service.

The Court proceeded to acquit Mbwenye of the charges.