By IREEN MULENGA
The Mazabuka Subordinate Court has sentenced two notorious ivory traders to seven years imprisonment each with hard labour after they were convicted of unlawful possession of 107 kilograms of ivory.
Facts of the matter are that Joseph Mulyata, 41, and Mark Mukanya 49, were arrested on May 6, 2019 by officers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife following a tip from concerned members of the community who suspected that some people were selling the ivory.
When the matter came to court, the suspects were jointly charged, the duo pleaded not guilty to the charge, but after a lengthy trial that took over two years, the Court convicted and sentenced Mulyata and Mukanya to seven (7) years imprisonment with hard labour.
Another unnamed co-accused was acquitted as the court found no evidence linking him to the offence.
Under the Zambia Wildlife Act no. 14 of 2015, unlawful possession of ivory attracts a minimum of five years imprisonment.
Courts across the country are handing notorious wildlife criminals prison sentences above the minimum to discourage people from engaging in wildlife crime.
This is contained in a statement issued by Sakabilo Kalembwe from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts.