TANZANIAN MAN JAILED 20 YEARS FOR UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF IVORY

DAR-ES-SALAAM, The Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam has sentenced a 38-year old man, Samwel Bwandu, to 20 years' imprisonment for unlawful possession of eight pieces of elephant tusks worth 60 million Tanzanian shillings (about 30,000 US dollars).

The prosecution, led by State Attorney Athanas Eliah, told the court that on June 28, 2015 at the Mabibo External area in Kinondoni District, in the city, the accused, and another man, were found in possession of eight pieces of elephant tusks valued at 30,000 US dollars without a permit from the Director of Wildlife.

The court also heard that between Jan 1, 2012 and June 28, 2015 in different areas, including Mabibo External in the city, the accused persons unlawfully accepted and transported 60 pieces of elephant tusks valued at 450,000 USD.

Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi on Wednesday jailed the resident of Kitunda on the outskirts of the city, with no option for a fine, after being satisfied with the evidence produced by six prosecution witnesses.

The law under which the convict was charged required the court to provide an alternative sentence of a fine, calculated at 10 times the market value of the trophies involved but, in his judgment, the magistrate explained that the 600 million shillings fine that the accused was to pay under the law was not executable by the accused.

The trial magistrate quickly pointed out that if it was discovered that the convict had sufficient properties worth the amount, the prosecution should not hesitate to inform the court for other necessary orders, notably altering of the sentence provided.

Bwandu was charged with the offence alongside a pastoralist from Iringa region, Kidamisi Kidanami, alias Hamis Mang'ati, 35.

However, the court later found the pastoralist innocent and acquitted him after the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The two accused were also jointly charged with another count of unlawful dealing in 900 million shillings worth of government trophies but the court acquitted them over the offence because the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK