MaraviPost-The Nkhotakota first grade magistrate court on Tuesday, February convicted and sentenced two men to serve jail term of 14 and 12 years for illegally possessing ivory in Nkhotakota district.
The two convincts Master Banda, 47, and Philmon Banda, 23, pleaded guilty over two counts thus; illegal possession of specimen of listed species and dealing in wildlife trophies contrary to section 86 and 91 of the penal code respectively.
The court through the Nkhotakota police station prosecution officer Davie Muloza heard that, the police got information of the two suspects who were offering ivory on sell at Tongole village in Nkhotakota district.
Following the information, the police managed to communicate with the suspects by convincing them as buyers of the ivory.
On 24 January, they agreed to meet at Lozi trading center to negotiate about the business.
Upon arrival at Lozi trading center, the suspects led the police to the bush where they hide four pieces of ivory wrapped in sacks weighing 28.5 kilograms.
The suspects told the police that they were selling the ivory at MK35, 000 per kilogram. The police thereafter arrested them.
On February 05, 2019 they appeared before Nkhotakota first grade magistrate court where they pleaded quilty.
In mitigation, they asked court to be lenient when passing the sentence saying that they are first offenders, have their families to look after and they have repented.
However, Muloza said, the suspects deserved stiff penalty regardless that they are first offenders but the offences they committed are serious in nature that attracts the mazimum penalty of 30 years Imprisonment with hard labour (IHL).
He further said the game officials have been sensitizing the community on dangers of killing and extracting wild species but the suspects did it deliberately.
Meanwhile, he asked the court to impose meaningful sentence to detter would be offenders.
Presiding over the case magistrate Fred Juma Chilowetsa concurred with the state and sentenced Master Banda to 12 years for the first count and 2 years IHL for the second count.
He further sentenced Philmon Banda to 10 years for the first count and 18 months IHL for the second count. Both counts to run concurrently.
Master Banda, 47, hails from Tongole village while Philmon Banda hails from Kawerenga village both are from Traditional Authority (T.A) Mphonde in nkhotakota district.