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Ivory lands two men in jail

CHARLES MUSONDA writes

THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced two men to five years imprisonment with hard labour for unlawful possession of elephant ivory.

Magistrate Felix Kaoma on Monday jailed Davies Mulenga, 43, and John Chimpemba, 52, both unemployed, after they pleaded guilty to the offence.

Mr. Kaoma said he had considered their mitigation that they are first offenders who readily admitted the charge without wasting the court’s time and as such deserved maximum lenience.

“However my hands are tied to minim sentence and I cannot go beyond minimum sentence. I therefore sentence each of you to five years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from the date of your arrest,” he said.

In his mitigation, Chimpemba said he is not a poacher and does not even know the bush and how to handle a firearm.

He said he was found with the ivory out of ignorance as he was just sent by someone to find market for the prescribed trophy.

But Mr. Kaoma told him that he should have refused the task of finding market for the ivory.

Chimpemba also complained that he is asthmatic and that he has school going children who will remain fatherless after his conviction and sentence.

And Mulenga mitigated that he has two school going children and that he looks after his old mother in the village. He also told the court that he is on antiretroviral therapy treatment.

Facts before court were that the two now convicts were apprehended at Lusaka City Council on August 23, 2018 after National Parks and Wildlife Department officers received information that there were two men who had ivory at the Civic Centre.

Upon being interviewed, they failed to prove ownership of the ivory, after which they were formally charged and arrested.

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