NKOLE MULAMBIA, Ndola
THE Ndola Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 30-year-old man to two years imprisonment with hard labour for causing fire which swept through over 3,000 stalls at Kapalala Market on Wednesday.
Luckson Ngabala, a charcoal trader of house number 120 in Kabushi township, was jailed yesterday by Ndola magistrate Oswald Chibalo.
Delivering the sentence, magistrate Chibalo said although the offence was a misdemeanour which could just attract a fine, he decided to send Ndabala to jail for his own safety and as a way of calming the affected traders.
“I have heard the facts, mitigation and that being the first offender, you will agree with me that the country has witnessed a number of fire incidents. I have to punish you in a way so that you reflect on your action and for others to learn from this.
“I therefore sentence you to 24 months imprisonment with hard labour effective from the date of arrest,” magistrate Chibalo said.
He said Ngabala was free to appeal to the High Court against the judgement within 14 days.
Earlier, Ngabala admitted committing the offence, saying he knew that lighting braziers in markets is not allowed, but that he was compelled to light one at 00:50 hours because it was too cold.
Ngabala pleaded for the court’s lenience as he is married and has two children to look after.
He also asked for forgiveness from traders who lost their goods in the inferno because what he did was not intentional.