A Zambian citizen on Friday received a three-year prison term and had his car declared forfeited to the state after he admitted guilt to a charge of illegal possession of elephant tusks.
Joe Walubita (28) was sentenced in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court to three years’ imprisonment, of which one year was suspended for a period of four years, on a charge of illegal possession of controlled wildlife products. He was also sentenced to pay a fine of N$1 000 or serve a prison term of six months for the illegal possession of ammunition.
A Toyota Corolla that Walubita used to transport the elephant tusks with which he was caught almost two months ago, was also declared forfeited to the state.
Walubita was arrested on the evening of 19 August, after police officers on patrol along the Zambian border in the Musanga area of the Zambezi region encountered a car that stopped as they approached. A person was seen fleeing from the car, and Walubita was observed throwing elephant tusks and ammunition from the boot of the car.
He told the police that he was a taxi driver, and had been asked by someone to transport a parcel. The ivory found by the police, consisting of eight elephant tusks, was valued at close to N$8 600.
The police also found six live bullets in his possession.
In another case involving the illegal possession of ivory, a 36-year-old Zambian, Kufuna Kambembe, was also sentenced in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Kambembe was arrested at the Wenela border post close to Katima Mulilo on 28 August, after he had been found transporting six elephant tusks, which had been cut into 14 pieces, in a wheelbarrow. The ivory in his possession was valued at about N$28 000.
Kambembe claimed the ivory belonged to three other people, but he was convicted of the illegal possession of controlled wildlife products and sentenced to a fine of N$7 000 or 24 months’ imprisonment, plus a further prison term of one year, which was suspended for a period of four years.
Walubita and Kambembe both stood trial before magistrate Karel Otto Muyeghu. The state was represented by public prosecutor Diana Khama.