A Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Reverend has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for having sex with a 13 year old Standard 7 school girl. Reverend Chiwawa Banda, 42, had sex with the girl on two separate occasions; first with a condom and on the second occasion without any protection. It also came to light that the good Reverend had bought the girl a mobile phone to facilitate easy communication.
The girl’s father got the cell phone where he discovered Reverend Banda’s pictures and later asked his daughter about her relationship with the cleric. When Banda was confronted on the issue he denieed and the matter was reported to Bwengu Police who later arrested him. Reverend Banda was charged with the offence of defilement of a girl under the age of 16 contrary to section 138(1) of the Malawian Penal Code.
State prosecutor Inspector Maurice Chimseu told presiding First Grade Magistrate Cuthbert Phiri that the cleric abused his position of trust and responsibility to protect children, and provide counseling to his church members. “The suspect planned to commit the offence, hence he gave the mobile phone to the victim in order to ease communication between the two,” Chimseu said.
Banda’s lawyer Moses Chinkhuntha of John Tennyson Associates pleaded with the court to give a lenient penalty saying Banda was a first time offender, therefore, deserved a suspended sentence. The court disagreed with his lawyers plea and concurred with the State that Reverend Banda deserved a stiffer punishment to deter would-be offenders and reduce the rising defilement cases in Rumphi District.
“As a leader, he was supposed to protect the girl as his own child. The punishment should be a wake-up call to would be offenders,” said Magistrate Phiri before handing down to the reverend a sentence of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.