Singida poachers imprisoned 20 years each (Tanzania)


Faustine Kapama, The Daily News

Date Published

Two poachers have been sentenced to pay a total fine of 1.6bn/- or go in jail for 50 years after being found in unlawful possession of four pieces of elephant tusks and unlawful dealing in government trophies.

The sentence was imposed by Senior Resident Magistrate Pili Mande at Manyoni District Court in Singida Region, after convicting the poachers, Bernard Wilson, alias Jacob and Hamis Athanas, alias Koesa, of the said two counts.

The magistrate sentenced each of the two convicts to 20 years imprisonment of being found with the elephant tusks, which are government trophies without permit and five custodian sentences for unlawful dealing with the government trophies.

Convicts, according to the magistrate, were each given option of paying fine of 648m/- for illegal possession of government trophies and 129,600,000/- for their involvement in poaching.

However, none of them managed to pay the fine and were thereafter ordered to go to serve their respective jail sentences as imposed by the court. The prosecution, led by State Attorney Salimu Msemo, had told the court that the accused persons committed the offences on February 23, this year, at Kiwele and Kambi Katoto Villages in Manyoni District, Singida Region.

During the trial, the prosecution called four witnesses and tendered several exhibits to prove the charges against the convicts, notably the four pieces of elephant tusks, one motorcycle, certificate of seizure and other documentary exhibits.

Before being provided with the sentence, the prosecution has asked the court to provide severe punishment to the convicts in order to serve a lesson to other poachers dealing with elephants, among protected wild animals.

On the other hand, the convicts had sought for lenient sentences because they were first offenders, meaning that it was the first time for them to be convicted of criminal offences and that they have some other relatives who depend on them.