The Itezhi Tezhi Magistrate Court has convicted and fined two fishermen a K240, 000 each for illegal entry into the Kafue National Park and for unlawful possession of weapons.
Joseph Chinyama,24 and Bernard Kaumba ,17 of Chambondole compound in Itezhi Tezhi were charged in the first count with illegal entry into the national park, in violation of sections 18(1) and 136(a) of Zambia Wildlife Act No. 14 of 2015.
Particulars in this count alleged that on August 3rd , 2022, they jointly and whilst acting together entered Kafue National Park in Itezhi Tezhi district, Southern Province, without a park entry permit issued by the Director General of the Department of National Parks.
In count two, they were charged with unlawful possession of weapons in a National park, in violation of sections 20 (1) (b) and 136 (a) of the Zambia Wildlife Act no. 14 of 2015 of Zambian laws.
The particulars of the second offence were that on August 3rd , 2022, in Itezhi Tezhi district, the duo jointly , had in their possession weapons namely dugout canoe, 2 fishing nets, and two paddling sticks.
When the case came up for a plea before magistrates Mugala Chalwe, they all readily admitted the charge and guilty pleas were recorded.
The facts presented in court were that on August 3, 2022, at approximately 15:00 hours, Gorge Sakala, an officer with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, was at Ngoma Camp when he received a report from management that there were activities going on in the Kafue National Park at Mwamalilenje.
The officer went inside the park to investigate with other officers from the anti-poaching team and confronted two guys in a dugout canoe, whom they identified as Joseph Chinyama and Bernard Kaumba.
The suspects were then transferred to Ngoma, where they were charged and arrested for the alleged crime.
They were searched and remanded in lawful custody pending a court appearance, and a seizure from which one dugout canoe, one fishing net, and two paddling poles were found and preserved as exhibits.
The accused had no reason to be in the park with the firearms.
In mitigation, all of them pleaded for leniency saying they were first offenders.
In passing judgment, magistrates Mugala Chalwe said the cases of illegal entry in the national park were too prevalent in Itezhi Tezhi
“In order to deter would be offenders, I impose K120, 000 fine for each count to be paid by each offender forthwith, in default 4 months community service, with the sentences to run concurrently” she ordered.