The Itezhi Tezhi Magistrate Court has convicted four fishermen and fined them a total of K1, 440,000 for unlawful hunting.
This is a matter were Patrick Matakala (50) and Simushi Simenda (19) of Kaunga village in Chief Kaingu’s chiefdom have been jointly charged for unlawful hunting, while Arnold Kambole (30) of Ikonkaile and Stanley Mizhi (24) of the same chiefdom, were separately charged for unlawful hunting, with three counts each.
In count one, the four were charged with unlawful entry into the National Park contrary to section 18(1) (a) as read together with section 136(a) of the Wildlife Act no. 14 of 2015, where it is alleged that the duo Matakala, jointly and while acting together did enter the Kafue South National Park without a permit while Kambole and Mizhi, also separately did enter the park unlawfully.
In count two, Matakala and Namushi and Kambole and, Mizhi were charged with unlawful hunting in the National Park contrary to section 19 (a) of the Zambia Wildlife Act no. 14 of 2015.
Particulars alleged that Namushi and Matakala on the same day in Itezhi Tezhi jointly and while acting together did hunt and kill about 23 kilograms of fish, while particulars also alleged that Arnold and Mizhi separately hunted 15 kilograms and 15 kilograms of fish respectively, without a hunting license issued to them by the Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wild Life.
In the third count the quartet, were charged with unlawful possession of weapons in the National Park contrary to section 18 (1) (2) as reading together with section 136(a) and (b) of wildlife Act number 14 of 2015.
Particulars in this offence alleged that Matakala and Namushi, jointly and while acting together had in their possession of fishing nets and a boat.
Particulars further stated that Kambole and Mizhi also had fishing nets in their possession.
When the matter came up for plea, all pleaded guilty and magistrates Keggan Litia convicted them separately upon their own confession.
Facts before court were that on January 3 and 6th February , 2020 around 8:00 hours , officers from the Department of National Parks and Wild Life were on duty patrolling the Kafue National Park of Itezhi Tezhi district when they came across the now accused persons at Kawelele area, where they were later apprehended.
In mitigation, all of them pleaded for leniency.
Matakala told the court that he had a large family that includes school going children and old parents and orphans, while Simushi also said he was the only child and was looking after grandmother as he lost both parents recently, while the rest gave similar mitigations.
In passing judgment, magistrates Litia said “I have paid attention to your mitigations but the offences you committed are serious. I have also noticed that these cases are very prevalent in this jurisdiction despite the court imposing fines and custodial sentences to offenders.” Mr. Litia said.
Magistrates Litia then imposed K120, 000 for each count translating to 360,000, to be paid by each offender forthwith, in default 90 days community service, with the sentence expected to run concurrently.