Tanzania: Two to Spend 42 Years in Jail Over Ivory Tusk Trading


By Mussa Mwangoka, The Citizen

Date Published
Katavi — Mpanda District Magistrate Court in Katavi Region yesterday sentenced two people to 42 years imprisonment after they were convicted of smuggling four elephant tusks worth Sh60million.

Resident Magistrate Odira Amwol sentenced the duo to the long jail term after the court had proved beyond reasonable doubt that they committed the offence.
The prosecution told the court that Justin Bruno, 50, a resident of Usevya Village and Philbert Leo, 35, a resident of Ikuba Village, were arrested on Thursday in possession of the haul.
The prosecution charged that the duo was arrested by the police in collaboration with game wardens of the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) while ferrying the tusks weighing 47.6 kilogrammes on a motorbike.
In their mitigation, the convicts pleaded with the court to lessen the penalty saying they had children to look after.
On Thursday a court in Mbeya Region jailed four Chinese for 20 years each and fined a total of Sh10.8 billion after they were convicted of unlawful possession of 11 rhino horns valued at Sh902 million.
Michael Mteite, a Senior Resident Magistrate in the Tanzania’s Southern Highlands region of Mbeya, sentenced the four Chinese to imprisonment at the end of 23 consecutive days of hearing the case.
The magistrate named the convicts as Song Lei, 33, Xiao Shaodan, 29, Chen Jianlin, 34, and Hu Liang, 30, adding that they were facing three counts of economic sabotage.
The prosecution led by State Attorney Wankyo Simon had told the court that the convicts were arrested at Kyela along the Tanzania-Malawi border on November 6, 2015, in possession of the rhino horns.
“They were in transit from Malawi to Tanzania,” said Simon.
“The court has been satisfied beyond doubt that the four Chinese had committed the offence which fell under the country’s economic sabotage laws,” said the magistrate.
The court also ordered the confiscation of a motor vehicle used in ferrying the horns.
The lawyer for the convicts, Mr Ladislaus Lwekaza, however, said he would consult his clients to see the possibility of appealing against the sentence.