THE 35 people arrested for entering Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) illegally yesterday appeared at the Kitwe Magistrate’s court and admitted the charge of criminal trespass.

The group, made of mostly youths admitted the charge and told the court they had gone to steal malachite.

Harrison Kilema, 24 said he and 34 others were hired by unknown people to steal the malachite.

And Sebastian Kawongo, aged 30 said the group was promised to be paid K50 for each bag of malachite they would steal.

Facts are that on 10 August 2017, the group entered the premises of MCM in Kitwe with intent to commit a crime.

On the material day, Evaristo Chipoka, an officer at Mopani who was in the company of other Police officers doing patrols within the MCM’s premises noticed a group of intruders around 22:00 hours.

Chipoka and other police officers prepared themselves and later apprehended the 35 intruders and reported the matter to Kitwe East police who took up the case and charged and arrested the 35.

Appearing before Resident Magistrate Malota Phiri the 35 pleaded guilty to the offence of criminal trespass.

Magistrate Phiri said upon their own admission, he found them guilty of the charge and accordingly convicted them.

However Magistrate Phiri could not pass his judgement without records of previous convictions and statements from social welfare and proof for those claiming to be juveniles.

The matter comes up August 17 for mitigation and judgement.  The 35 have been remanded at Kamfinsa Correctional Facility.


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