KETRA KALUNGA writes

A-25 YEAR old woman of Kabwe has denied stealing a month two weeks baby in the Kabwe Magistrates Court.

Sofina Malupande a farm worker denied stealing the baby belonging Tobias and Peggy Matakati of John Chinena in Chibombo district on January 19 last year.

The baby was only recovered by police on June 23 this year in Mukobeko compound under the care of Malupande. 

But Malupande who denied stealing baby Bridget Mutakati before Principal Resident Magistrate Daniel Musonda, claimed that its mother Peggy voluntarily gave her the child.

Particulars of the case are that on January 19 last year with intent to deprive, Malupande took away Bridget away from her parents.

But when the matter came up for trial Malupande testified that she did not steal the child but was given to her by its mother Peggy to baby sit because she was at the time having marital problems.

But Peggy in her testimony denied ever giving the infant to Malupande whom she said was a stranger she had only known for three days.

Peggy told the court that Malupande came to her stand at John Chinena market on January 16, 2018 on the pretext that she was waiting for her brother in law who promised to take the accused to her mother’s place.

“Malupande came to the stand again the following day and I asked her why she had not left.  She told me that her brother -in-law was busy with work but promised to leave that day,” Peggy said

Peggy further testified that Malupande came back again on January 19, and she asked her the same question to which the accused repeated that her brother in-law was still busy with work at the council.

But around 15.00 hours the same day, Malupande picked up the baby that was sleeping but Peggy advised her to let the baby alone.

“In front of my stand I saw a  parked vehicle so I went to find out if they needed something to buy only to be told the vehicle had a break down so I came back to my stand,

“When I came back to my stand I found that Malupande had gone with my baby to buy a drink and after 30 minutes had elapsed I started getting worried about my baby because she cries too much,” she said

After some time Peggy raised alarm and one of the marketeers advised her to inform the neighbourhood which she did. At that point her husband Tobias had been informed and he also rushed to the market to join in the search.

“We reported the matter to Prospect police station and continued the search for the baby in Malombe area where Malupande had said her brother in law stayed but all was in vain.

Later the search was extended to Lukanga swamp where Malupande’s aunt and young brother confirmed that the accused had stayed with them.

“Her brother gave me her number together with her father’s. The police immediately swung into action and drove to Lukanga swamps, and consequently cornered Malupande with my baby in Mukobeko Compound,

“They asked me to identify my baby, she I did as she resembles me and has a birthmark on her back and a big umbilical cord which has not reduced in size up to now,” Peggy said

About six witnessed have so far testified in the matter with four more remaining and the case has been adjourned to August 20, for continued trial and Malupande was remanded in custody.

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