Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate court sitting at Liwonde in Machinga district on Thursday sentenced 25-year-old man to eight years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for illegal possession of two pieces of ivory and three elephant leg bones without permit.
Eastern Region Police Headquarters Prosecution Officer, Tisungane Banda told the court that on January 19, 2019, Faness Dickson was selling two pieces of raw elephant tusks weighing 0.742 kilogrammes and three leg bones at Nselema Trading Centre in Machinga.
She said Police were tipped and immediately instituted a man hunt within the area and later arrested the suspect.
Banda said Dickson was charged with two counts of illegal possession of specimen of listed species and dealing in government trophies contrary to section 86 (1) and 91 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
Dickson did not plead guilty and this led the state to bring in witnesses.
The Court found him guilty on both counts after the state proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
In mitigation, Dickson pleaded for leniency on the basis that he is the breadwinner for his family and that his mother is very sick and needs his support.
The state requested for a stiff penalty to deter would be offenders from killing protected animal species, a malpractice which he said had became very common in the district.
Banda said that the country as well as African Parks is losing a lot of resources in an effort to protect these endangered species and the rise in the act leaves their efforts in vain.
Presiding Chief Resident Magistrate, Mzonde Mvula sentenced Dickson to eight years IHL on both counts arguing that wild animals need to be safeguarded because they promote the country’s development as they bring in forex through tourism.
Dickson hails from Malita village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chikweo in Machinga.