Kapiri man goes in 7 years for being in possession of ivory
By Staff Reporter
A 28-year-old man who has been appearing in the Kapiri Mposhi magistrate court for being in possession of pieces of ivory has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment with hard labour.
Before Kapiri Mposhi resident magistrate Obrien Katyamba was Kandusa Salemu, 28, a resident of Mpika district in Muchinga Province.
Particulars before court were that on November 19, 2018 Salemu, while in Kapiri Mposhi of the Central Province of the Republic of Zambia, allegedly had in his possession prescribed trophies namely; six pieces of ivory cut from two elephant tusks with a total weight of 14 kilograms.
Salemu pleaded not guilty to the charge of being in possession with prescribed trophies.
The State led evidence from four witnesses.
The court heard that on the material day around 21:00 hours, Salemu was in the central business district in Kapiri Mposhi near Chikayeba bar when investigators from Department of Wildlife and National Parks spotted him with a laptop bag containing six pieces of ivory cut from two elephant tusks.
He was later conveyed to Kapiri Mposhi Police Station where he was charged and arrested for the offence of being in possession with prescribed trophies.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, resident magistrate Katyamba said that the state had proved a prima facie case against Salemu.
In his defence, Salemu explained that on the material day around 19:00 hours he was coming from his garden where he had gone to weed his vegetables and upon reaching Chikayeba bar, found two friends that reside in Zambia compound and started drinking beer with them.
He explained that after 21:00 the trio decided to leave the bar for fear of being apprehended by Zambia Police officers who had started nabbing people for loitering.
Salemu said that as he was crossing the Great North Road with one of his friends while approaching ZESCO Substation, some people came from behind and the friend ran away; leaving the laptop bag containing pieces of ivory.
He added that he did not know that the laptop bag contained pieces of ivory because the said bag belonged to his friend who ran away.
But passing judgment in the matter, magistrate Katyamba stated that the prosecution had proved the case against Salemu beyond any reasonable doubt, adding that it was not in dispute that Salemu was the one that was in possession of the pieces of ivory.
Magistrate Katyamba observed that being in possession with prescribed trophies was a serious offence and if left unchecked, the trend had the potential deplete wildlife in National Game Reserves.
He added that in order to deter would-be offenders, the court had the responsibility to mete out a custodial sentence.
Magistrate Katyamba then sentenced Salemu to seven years imprisonment with hard labour.