THE Chadiza Magistrates’ Court has sentenced three Chinese and two Zambians to five years imprisonment for illegally being in possession of rhino horns.
Before magistrate Fred Musaka was Wan Qian (31), Huang Qingzhon (42), Hi Qingmao (30), Lovemore Kamwendo (42), and Oberty Simwajata (48), who were charged with one count of unlawful possession of prescribed trophy contrary to section 130(a) and 86(2) of Act No.14 of 2015 of the Laws of Zambia.
It was alleged that on July 27, 2017, all the five accused persons in Chadiza jointly and whilst acting together had in their possession 25 pieces of rhino horns weighing 32.2 kilogrammes without a certificate of ownership issued by the Director of National Parks and Wildlife.
The accused were intercepted at Chanida Border Post by Zambia Revenue Authority officers as they crossed into Zambia from Mozambique for being found in possession of suspected rhino horns and were later handed over to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
In mitigation, the five asked the court to exercise leniency on them as they were all family men who might subject their families to great suffering if they were sent to prison.
And in delivering judgment, magistrate Musaka said he took into consideration what the accused presented in mitigation but that they had no right to be in possession of the rhino horns without the certificate of ownership and export permit from the Director of National Parks and Wildlife.
He said sending the five to prison would serve as a lesson to other would be offenders. The five were then sentenced to five years imprisonment with effect from the date that they were arrested.