Tuesday, June 18, 2024

4 fined almost K 1 million for unlawful entry into the park

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The Itezhi-Tezhi magistrates court has convicted four Itezhi-Tezhi fishermen and fined them a total of K960,000 after they pleaded guilty to illegal entry into the National Park and unlawful possession of weapons in the park.

This is a case involving Shadreck Chilimo (27), Isaac Mwenda (35), Silumesi Nkamitondo (39), of Lilanda Compound in Itezhi Tezhi, and John Chalwe (31) of Chibolya compound in Itezhi- Tezhi.

In count one, the quartet is charged with illegal entry into the national park, in violation of sections 18(1) and 136(a) of the Zambia Wildlife Act No. 14 of 2015.

Particulars alleged that on August 29 2022, the four men jointly entered Kafue National Park in Itezhi Tezhi district in Southern Province, without a park entry permit.

In count two, the four are 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 the same day, in Itezhi Tezhi district, jointly and whilst working together, the four had in their possession weapons namely fish nets and a boat in the Kafue National Park without permit.

When the case came up for plea before magistrates Mugala Chalwe, the quartet readily admitted the charge and a plea of guilty was entered.

According to the evidence presented in court, on August 29, 2022, Zambia Wildlife Police Officers were on duty conducting patrols on Island two Choongo on Lake Itezhi Tezhi, which is located in the Kafue National Park.

When the officers arrived on the island, they encountered the now-accused individuals who were asked to produce documents that allowed them to do what they did in the national park.

The quartet were however unable to produce documents.

They were apprehended and taken to Ngoma wildlife offices where they were interviewed in connection with the alleged offenses and later charged and arrested.

In mitigation, the four petitioned the court for mercy.

Chilimo said he was caring for an elderly mother who has a vision problem as well as siblings and that if he received a custodial sentence, they would suffer.

Mwenda on the other hand stated that he was the only breadwinner in the family and cared for orphans while Nkamitondo stated that he was caring for six orphans and asked the court for mercy, promising that he would never repeat the crime.

In his mitigation, Silumesi said he comes from Kalabo and that his wife was just recovering from a surgery.

“I have taken into account that you are first offenders who deserve lenience, but the offences you committed are very serious, so I need to punish you,” magistrate Chalwe said when sentencing the four.

She then ordered each person to pay K120, 000 cash for the first count and another K120, 000 for the second, in default 4 months community service, with the sentences to run concurrently.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Even if they have the money they won’t pay as there is the option of doing 4 months community service which they can do since it’s not a custodial sentence. These guys are poachers and the court should have given them custodial sentences to deter others.

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