ZAWA appeals to parent ministry to strengthen Zambia Wildlife Act

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THE Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has appealed to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts to strengthen its Zambia Wildlife Act to protect the institution’s revenue from being stolen by unscrupulous people.
ZAWA public relations officer Readith Muliyunda said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that ZAWA has observed that the cost of taking cases to court is currently too high.
She also said cases of people caught with game meat could easily be disposed of by imposing a penalty fee on the spot as provided for in Section 132 of the Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998.
“Section 132 does provide for offenders to pay a fine without having to appear in court. It states that if a wildlife officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the court which shall try the arrested person will impose a fine  not exceeding three hundred penalty units, then that person could sign documents admitting  that he is guilty of the offence,” she said.
Ms Muliyunda said in its current state, Section 132 is weak and cannot be relied upon as it allows offenders to get away with crimeby paying an admission of guilt fee which is less than the cost of a hunting licence.
She said it would be helpful to categorise the amount of trophy to determine a penalty which should be slapped on the offenders.
She said the Ministry of Tourism and Arts should issue a statutory instrument that will show proper apportioning of funds adding that any funds raised from such prosecutions should be shared among ZAWA, the court and Government.

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