By Owen Khamula, The Nyasa Times
Director of Wildlife Brighton Kunchedwa has hailed as landmark recent convictions and sentences of wildlife criminals. Kunchedwa was commenting on the latest sentencing of a man to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour for being found selling pieces of ivory in Mangochi worth K1 million.
“These sentences should deter other would be offenders. The courts are really helping us now, they are meting out stiff punishment,” he said.
He attributed this to the new Wildlife law which he said is now tough on those who commit crimes on wildlife and their products. Another case is still in the court at Lilongwe magistrates’ which involves a Chinese national and Kunchedwa said his office was following the case with interest.
This week, a 37-year-old man was slapped with a two year-jail term for being found with two pieces of ivory valued at K987,000. The Mangochi second grade court sentenced Useni Wali to the two-year jail term after he was convicted for an offence of illegal possession of listed species which contravenes the Wildlife Act.
State assistant prosecutor Efford Kamphonje told the court that on October 18, 2019, Awali was found selling the ivory.
In court, Awali pleaded guilty and he was convicted on his own plea. He however prayed for a lenient sentence saying he was selling the ivory out of ignorance. But magistrate Augustine Mezaya slapped Awali with the two-year jail term, saying this would deter other would be offenders.
Awali hails from Mwala village in chief Chowe’s area in Mangochi.