Mchinji First Grade Magistrate court has sentenced two Mozambican nationals to five years’ imprisonment with hard labour for being found in possession of a live pangolin.
The two are identified as Jackson Yakobe, 40, and Selemani Felix, 26.
They were arrested on May 26, following a tip-off by officers, according to Mchinji Police Public Relations Officer Limbani Mpinganjira.
“Upon receiving the information, detectives disguised as potential buyers set up a business appointment where the two were found with the live pangolin in a backpack, and immediately the police arrested them,” said Mpinganjira.
Appearing before the court, the two denied the charges levelled against them, prompting the state through State Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Helix Kamkweche to parade five witnesses.
Yakobe and Felix were found guilty of the offence of being found in possession of a specimen of listed species, contrary to section 86 sub-section 1, as read with section 110b of the National Parks and Wildlife Act and dealing in government trophies contrary to section 91, subsection 1, of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
In mitigation, the two prayed for leniency by stating that they are breadwinners of their families but Kamkweche asked for a stiffer punishment, reminding the court that such acts are a threat to the national’s tourism industry and wildlife.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Yohane Nkhata concurred with the state, slapping the convicts with a five-year jail term as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.
Reported by Vincent Khonje