Four men of Itezhi tezhi district in Central province have been fined a collective K 22,600 on May 12th in the Magistrates Court after being found guilty to four poaching related charges.
Before Itezhi tezhi magistrates court were Isaac Nabuzoka,36, of Masemu compound in Itezhi tezhi, Alex Nabuzoka, 29,of Chibolya compound in Itezhi tezhi, Davy Kayombo,37 of Lilanda compound in Itezhi tezhi and Gregory Kapami,37 of Lilanda compound in Itezhi tezhi who stood charged with five counts.
The five counts were unlawful possession of a fire arm, unlawful entry into the national park, unlawful hunting in the park, and unlawful possession of weapons in the national park and unlawful possession of government trophy contrary to the laws of Zambia.
Each person was ordered to pay K 850 for the first count, the offence of unlawful possession of a firearm or in default eight months in jail with hard labour.
For count two, the offence of unlawful entry in the national park, each person was ordered to pay K1, 800 or in default 12 months in jail with hard labour.
For count three the quartet was acquitted due to insufficient evidence from the state, the offence carries a mandatory sentence.
In count four, (the offence of unlawful possession of weapons in the national Park) the court ordered each accused person to pay K1, 800 or in default 12 months in prison with hard labour.
And in count five, unlawful possession of 283.2 kgs of government trophy namely three full Puku carcasses, one carcass of waterbuck and one carcass of warthog, the quartet were ordered each to pay K1, 200 to the state.
All appeared before Magistrate Munalula Mubita on the five poaching related offences committed in April this year.
All the four men pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a fire arm, unlawful entry into the national park, unlawful hunting in the park, and unlawful possession of weapons in the national park and unlawful possession of government trophy.
Particulars of the offence were that on the day in question, ZAWA officers received a call from concerned members of the community that they heard a gunshot at Island number 3 on Lake Itezhi tezhi which is located in the Kafue National Park.
Acting on the report, the officers organised themselves and rushed to the scene where they found five carcasses of wild animals, a knife and fire arm.
The ZAWA officers decided to hide and wait for culprits. Later the four men were seen paddling a fibre boat towards the island and when they tried to get the meat to their fibre boat, the officers came out from hiding and ordered them to surrender.
Two surrendered while the rest run away but were later arrested and charged with the subsequent offences.
In mitigation the quartet asked for the court’s maximum leniency as they were first offenders and that they were married with children and looking after other dependants.
In response, Magistrate Mubita said the poaching offences are very prevalent in Itezhi tezhi district and that the court took in consideration all what they said in mitigation and the fact that they denied the charge despite it being straight forward and he levied each accused person K850 for first charge, K1, 800 second charge, K1, 800 for third charge, K1, 200 on the fifth charge with the stipulation that they will serve in prison if they fail to pay the fines.
The magistrates, however, acquitted the quartet on the fourth charge of unlawful hunting which requires a mandatory sentence due to insufficient evidence from the state.
The magistrate further ordered the confiscation of the fibre vessel, firearm and other equipment used by the poachers.