Chitipa Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday sentenced a 26-year-old man to four years imprisonment for being found in possession of ivory of an African elephant.
Reverend Kanyimbo was arrested last week in a resthouse at Nthalire Rural Growth Centre in the district following a joint operation by game rangers and police officers.
Police prosecutor Evans Mtepuka told the court that the security agents received an alert that the convict was secretly searching for potential buyers of ivory.
“An elephant is one of special and endangered wild animals which attracts tourists. It, therefore, is a big loss for government when an elephant is killed just for its ivory,” he said, asking for stiffer penalties for poachers and ivory traders.
In his ruling, first grade magistrate Julius Kalambo said being found with possession of ivory is ample evidence that an elephant was killed although it may not have been killed by the accused.
“As the Judiciary, we have a role in protecting elephants from heartless poachers,” he said, handing down the jail sentence without any option for a fine.
Ivory trade contravenes Section 110 of the newly-amended National Parks and Wildlife Act, which prescribes a maximum penalty of K5 million or a custodial sentence of 30 years.
The convict comes from Mahowe Village in Traditional Authority (TA) Nthalire, Chitipa. n