WINDHOEK – A 21-year-old Public Administration student at the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) was sentenced to a straight seven-month jail term for theft from his employer.
Lazarus Lungameni pleaded guilty to a charge of theft and admitted that he stole a Blackberry Curve cellphone from Dunns Store where he was employed as a shop assistant. According to Lungameni he was on duty on October 8 when he saw the phone in a box in the storeroom. He admitted to having removed the phone from the box and taking it outside where he gave it to someone he merely called Robin to sell on his behalf. He further told Magistrate Justine Asino that he sold the phone which is valued at N$5 998 for N$800.
Lungameni told Asino that he stole the phone, because he was paid only N$200 for three days work. In mitigation Lungameni said he is single and is studying with a loan from the Ministry of Finance. He said that he had a holiday job with Edgars where he received N$200 for three day and is currently at Dunns where he was supposed to earn N$700 per month. He requested a fine of N$500, since according to him the phone was recovered through MTC. Prosecutor Samantha Diergaardt was however not in a Christmas spirit, when she said the accused abused the trust that was placed in him by the employer. “It is clear that the accused was driven by greed and not need as he sold the phone thereby benefitting from his actions,” she told Asino. According to Diergaardt, instances of theft from employers are on the increase and the court should impose a deterrent sentence and added that the only suitable sentence would be one of direct imprisonment. She said that the only reason the accused was apprehended was because the phone was traced through MTC.
Asino agreed with Diergaardt that the accused did not voluntarily hand the phone back to the owner so he cannot claim that it was recovered. Asino said society needs to be protected and added that the most aggravating factor is the fact that Lungameni stole from someone who offered him a chance to earn a living. “Accused, you stole an expensive item that you did not need, you were provided with a salary, but it appears that you needed more and driven by greed” she admonished the youngster. She further told Lungameni that she is mindful of the effects a direct term of imprisonment will have on his studies, but said that he should have thought of the consequences of his actions before he resorted to stealing.
By Roland Routh