Three Zambians, including an army captain from the Zambian Defence Force (pictured right, centre) were each sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in Malawi today after they were convicted of wildlife trafficking.
Captain John Sakala, 44 from Sanjangu, Mr Sandu Kalimbo, 30 years old from Kanjala, and Mr Ronald Mawale, 44 year old from Mtete were arrested on 2nd September 2016 in the Malawian border town of Mchinji after being found in possession of three raw elephant tusks and complete leopard and l
ion skins. The artefacts were reportedly poached from animals from South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.
The case was brought to court on 5th September, where all three men facing charges of illegal possession of specimens of protected species and dealing in government trophies. On 30th September all three men were found guilty by Lilongwe Magistrate Court and sentenced to 40 months in Internment with Hard Labour, no option of a fine.
Saddry Sambo, Assistant Superintendent, National Police HQ Prosecutions Office, said, “This is the first concluded case which falls under a newly funded public-private litigation project for serious wildlife crime cases. We are very encouraged with the result which shows the determination of the government authorities to combat wildlife crime.”
Tommy Mhango, representing Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, praised the government authorities involved, and added, “This is a great example of where new Malawian initiatives to tackle wildlife crime are having an impact. In this case wildlife crime investigators and prosecutors worked hand in hand to put three significant wildlife trafficker behind bars. It is also encouraging to see that magistrates, in this case His Worship, Patrick Chirwa, are taking a strong stance against this serious organised crimes.”