Tanzania: Poacher Jailed 20 Years Over Ivory


Faustine Kapama, Tanzania Daily News

Date Published

Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday sentenced 38-year old Samwel Bwandu, to 20-year imprisonment over unlawful possession of eight pieces of elephant tusks worth 60m/-.

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

The law under which the convict was charged with required the court to provide an alternative sentence of paying the fine, calculated at 10 times the market value of the trophies involved. But, in his judgment, the magistrate explained that the 600m/- fine that the convict was to pay as per the law was not executable on part of the convict.

The trial magistrate quickly pointed out that if it would be discovered that the convict has sufficient properties worth of 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 their case beyond reasonable doubt. The accused were also jointly charged with another count of unlawful dealing in 900m/- government trophies.

But, the court acquitted them over the offence due to prosecution failure to produce sufficient evidence.

The prosecution, led by State Attorney Athanas Eliah, alleged that on June 28, 2015 at Mabibo External area in Kinondoni District in the city, the suspects were found in possession of eight pieces of elephant tusks valued at 30,000 US dollars (about 60m/-) without a permit from the Director of Wildlife.

The court heard that between January 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 US dollars.