A 66-year-old farmer of Itezhi Tezhi in Central Province has pleaded not guilty to possessing a live Pangolin, a protected animal.
Imakando Silishebo of Masasabi farming block in Chief Kaingu’s area in Itezhi tezhi is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a protected animal contrary to section 130 of the Wildlife Act number 14 of 2015 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offense are that Silishebo on June 13, 2019 in Itezhi tezhi, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons, possessed one live Pangolin, a protected animal, without Certificate of ownership.
According to the Certificate of Identification, the juvenile Pangolin weighing 3.5 kilograms is valued at K23, 438.
When the matter came up for trial before Itezhi tezhi magistrate Keggan Litia, Silishebo denied the charge.
First witness in the matter, Kennedy Mweetwa, a Ranger at Department of National Park Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), testified that on June 13, 2019, he examined a trophy that was brought before him which he identified as a live juvenile Pangolin.
He explained that after identifying the trophy, he handed over Silishebo to the arresting officer.
Meanwhile, Royd Chibochi, a wildlife Police officer, testified that on the material day, he was allocated a docket of a case involving three men who had a bag containing a live Pangolin.
He explained that after investigations, he made up his mind to charge and arrest the trio.
Chibochi said that the other two men who were jointly charged with Silishebo pleaded guilty and were sentenced to five years.
The court heard that the live Pangolin that was found in the possession of the trio was disposed of by the Itezhi tezhi Magistrates Court.
A Pangolin is an endangered protected species and illegal possession of it attracts a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
And State Prosecutor Samadi Banda told the court that they had closed their prosecution in this case and magistrate Litia adjourned the case to Tuesday, June 16, 2019 for ruling.
News source: Zambia Reports