Kasungu First Grade Magistrate Court sitting at Kasungu on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 convicted and sentenced Robert Jackson Gondwe, 52 of Gaga village in the area of Traditional Authority Chulu in Kasungu district to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for illegal possession of Ivory.
According to Harry Namwaza, Kasungu deputy Publist said Robert Gondwe was arrested on November 14, 2017 at Chinsanjire village after police officers and game rangers successfully followed up a tip.
“On the material day he was found in possession of 10 pieces of raw Ivory weighing 30.815 kg valued at MK45,606,200.00”, said Namwaza.
Gondwe was answering charges of (1) Being Found in Possession of Specimen of Listed Species contrary to section 86(1) as read with section 110(B)(b)of the National Parks and Wildlife Act and (2). Dealing in Government Trophy contrary to section 91(1)as read with section 110 (B)(b) National Parks and Wildlife Act.
In court, Gondwe pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against him and he also pleaded for lenient sentences as it was the first time for him to commit the offences.
However, Director of Prosecution in the Malawi Police Service, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Happy K. Mkandawire who was representing the state objected to Gondwe’s request citing that, the nature of the offences he was answering required stiff sentences.
Mkandawire reminded the court that government spends a lot of money to maintain protected species like elephants and if such offences are to be stopped perpetrators must be given stiff sentences.
Before passing sentences, Kasungu First Grade Magistrate, Damiano Banda supported Mkandawire’s call for stiff sentences on Gondwe citing that, offences Gondwe was answering were serious ones which deserved stiff sentences.
The First Grade Magistrate, Damiano Banda then slapped Gondwe with 14 and 12 years jail terms respectively. The sentences will run concurrently.