Kasungu First Grade Magistrate’s Court on Friday sentenced a man to 14 years imprisonment after finding him guilty of illegal possession of ivory.
The convict, Robert Jackson Gondwe, 52, was arrested in a joint operation by the police and game rangers on November 14 this year at Chinsanjire Village in the district following a tip-off.
According to Kasungu Police Station deputy spokesperson Harry Namwaza, Gondwe was found in possession of 10 pieces of raw ivory weighing 30.815 kilogrammes valued at K45 606 200 on the black market.
“He was charged with being found in possession of specimen of listed species contrary to Section 86 as read with Section 110[B][b]of the National Parks and Wildlife Act and he was also charged with dealing in government trophy contrary to Section 91 as read with Section 110 [B][b] of the same Act,” he said.
In mitigation, Gondwe pleaded guilty and asked for leniency, saying he was a first-time offender.
Director of prosecution in the Malawi Police Service, Happy Mkandawire, who represented the State, objected Gondwe’s request, arguing that the offences required stiff sentences.
He said: “Government spends a lot of money to maintain protected species like elephants and if such offences are to be stopped, perpetrators must be given stiff sentences.”
Kasungu first grade magistrate Damiano Banda sentenced Gondwe to 14 years imprisonment for being found in possession of specimen of protected species and 12 years imprisonment for dealing in government trophy. The sentences will run concurrently.
Gondwe comes from Gaga Village, Traditional Authority Chulu in Kasungu.