The anti-poaching campaign has gained momentum after the Arusha Resident Magistrate’s Court sentenced two poachers, Damas Komba and Jamal Athuman, to total of 40 years imprisonment or pay a fine of over 970m/- for illegal possession of government trophies.
Resident Magistrate Chrisanta Chitanda convicted the two accused persons last Friday after being satisfied by evidence produced by six prosecution witnesses, led by State Attorney Felix Kwetukia. The convicts were found with five pieces of elephant tusks.
None of them managed to pay the fine.
Among the witnesses called by the prosecution, includes Assistant Inspector Mseja, who arrested the duo, Solomoni Jeremiah, the valuer of the government trophies, Police Constables James Kugusa and Sherwin Qorro, who had kept the exhibits. Inspector James and Assistant Inspector Kaitira had recorded statements for the accused persons.
Exhibits tendered included five pieces of elephant tusks, certificate of seizure, certificate of valuation of trophy, exhibit handling document and caution statements for the accused persons.
The prosecution had told the court that Komba (52), a businessman, who resides at Kijenge Mwanama and Athman (38), a Chef and resident of Morombo area, committed the offence on January 15, this year, at Korongo la Selela within Monduli District in Arusha City.
Jointly and together, the accused persons were found in unlawful possession of the said pieces of elephant tusks weighing 25.2kg valued at 97,200,000/-, the property of the government.
Facts show that the accused persons were arrested following receipt of some information from the informer to the effect that they were about to do an illegal business of elephant tusks.
The trap that led to the arrest of the accused persons was set while they were in process of conducting the said illegal business. Upon being found with the tusks, the accused persons were asked if they had license to possess the trophies, but they had none.
Following being found in unlawful possession of the government trophies without license, certificate of seizure was filled and signed by the accused persons signifying seizing of five pieces of elephant tusks.
Thereafter, the accused persons were arrested and brought to Mto wa Mbu Police Station together with the pieces of trophies for interrogation. Upon being interrogated by police officers, the accused persons confessed to have been involved with the commission of the offence charges.
About a week ago, the Karatu District Court at Arusha City sentenced another poacher, Gitabeka Giyaya (54), to 20 years imprisonment or pays a fine of 250,965,000/- for unlawful possession of 13 pieces of elephant tusks, which are government trophies. Giyaya was imprisoned having failed to pay the fine.
It was alleged that on December 4, 2014, at Mang’ola Gorofani areas within the district, the accused person was found in possession of the said 13 pieces of elephant tusks valued at 25,965,000/-, the property of the government.
Last month, two other poachers, Gidamis Giyamu alias Hamis and Petro Kilo alias Kinangai alias Nanga, were also sentenced to a total of 40 years or pay over 900m/-for being found with four pieces of elephant tusks, which are government trophies without permit.
Both convicts opted to go to jail having failed to pay the fine. Giyamu, according to the magistrate, was required to pay 600,791,500/- to escape the custodian sentence of 20 years, while Kilo had to pay 290,172,000/- if he was to avoid the same jail term.
The prosecution had told the court that Giyamu committed the offence on December 23, 2012, at Olden area within Karatu District in the city, where he was found in unlawful possession of two pieces of elephant tusks weighing 70kg, valued at 60,791,500/-, property of the government.