June 13, 2022
Vignon Folake, Gabon Review
Translated from the French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for the French original.
See link for photo.
On 10 June, the Special Tribunal of Libreville handed down sentences ranging from six to twelve months in prison to 12 defendants involved in five wildlife trafficking cases.
Twelve indelicate people prosecuted for wildlife trafficking, most of whom were arrested during operations to combat wildlife crime carried out by the police and elements of the Water and Forests, with the support of the NGO Conservation Justice, were sentenced on 10 June by the special court of Libreville.
These traffickers were sentenced to six to twelve months in prison and fined to the State and damages for the Water and Forest Administration.
Dindou Magui, Tcheukam Éric and Nziengui Mouvondo Murielle were each sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, including six months suspended, a fine of 1,750,000 FCFA and 1,000,000 FCFA as damages to the Water and Forests Administration, for complicity in attempting to market ivory tusks, possession and attempted marketing of ivory tusks.
Célestin Nguema Ngomo, Morten Abene Ndouna Kizito and Jean Blaise Aboui Ndong were sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, including six months suspended, and a fine of 1,500,000 FCFA. The court also ordered them to pay the sum of 5,000,000 FCFA as damages to the Water and Forests Administration, for attempting to market ivory tusks, illegal possession of ivory tusks and attempting to market trophies of a fully protected species.
Aimé Mondjo took twelve months' imprisonment and a fine of 2,000,000 FCFA, for illegal possession of ivory and attempted marketing of ivory tusks. Carle Obissa and Guillaume Moutou were sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, including six months suspended, a fine of 1,600,000 FCFA each and payment of the sum of 1,000,000 FCFA as damages for possession and attempted marketing of ivory tusks.
In the case of Mouanga Mboutsou Béranger, Taty Pierre and Lary Mboutsou, they were found guilty of attempting to commercialize ivory tusks, an offence of illegal possession of ivory tusks. Facts that earned them twelve months of imprisonment including three months suspended and a fine of 3,050,000 FCFA each.
For environmentalists, the penalties imposed may not appear to be a deterrent compared to the maximum penalties provided for in the legislation. On the other hand, the rate of sentencing to prison terms is high: 80 to 90% of suspected ivory traffickers are sentenced to prison terms.