The Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate on Thursday sentenced a 25-year-old man to eight years imprisonment with hard labour for illegal possession of two pieces of ivory and three elephant leg bones without a permit.
Eastern Region Police Headquarters Prosecution Officer, Tisungane Banda, told the court that on 19 January Faness Dickson was selling two pieces of raw elephant tusks weighing 742g and three leg bones at Nselema Trading Centre in Machinga.
Banda said police were alerted to the sale and immediately commenced a man hunt within the area, and later arrested the suspect.
Dickson was charged with two counts of illegal possession of specimen of listed species and dealing in government trophies contrary to section 86(1) and 91 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
Dickson pleaded not guilty, however the court convicted him on both counts after the state proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
In mitigation, Dickson pleaded for leniency on the basis that he is the breadwinner for his family and that his ill mother needs his support.
The spokesperson for the state requested for a stiff penalty to deter would-be offenders from killing protected animal species, a malpractice which he said had became very common in the district.
Banda said that the country is losing a lot of resources in an effort to protect these endangered species and the rise of animal poaching leaves their efforts in vain.
Sentencing Dickson, Presiding Chief Resident Magistrate, Mzonde Mvula, said wild animals need to be safeguarded because they promote the country’s development through tourism revenue.
Dickson hails from Malita village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chikweo in Machinga.