Solicitor General Justice Janet Banda says porous borders, weak laws and high cases of wildlife trafficking in neighbouring countries are major challenges in Malawi’s fight against wildlife trafficking.
Banda, who is also Principal Secretary for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, made the remarks on Tuesday during the opening of a workshop organised by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in collaboration with the Conference of Western Attorneys General-Africa Alliance Partnership (CWAG-AAP) on anti-wildlife trafficking.
“Malawi has a problem because it is like a transit nation and a hub because of corruption and the weak legal framework we have.
“However, we have made progress as a country in addressing this issue by putting in place new legislation in terms of the Wildlife Act and regulations. We are also reviewing the Forestry Act,” she said.
According to Banda, the country introduced stiffer penalties for perpetrators of wildlife trafficking and other related offences fines in 2016.
CWAG-AAP board member Markus Green stated that they would discuss best ways and ideas to employ in tackling wildlife trafficking issues globally.
“We will talk about solutions and all issues that can be discussed and debated which is all in recognition of the fact that we live in a global village such that what happens in USA affects what happens in Malawi and vice-versa,” said Green.
Department of National Parks and Wildlife director Brighton Kumchedwa said the workshop would help to enhance skills among wildlife and police officers responsible for investigations, law enforcement and prosecution.
In his remarks, ACB director Reyneck Matemba said getting the training, knowledge and expertise was not enough if they did not check their integrity.
The two-day inter-agency workshop was held under the theme The Sharing of Knowledge and Best Practices on Tactics for the Arrest and Prosecution of Wildlife Traffickers. n