A fisherman of Itezhi Tezhi District in Central Province has been convicted and fined K240, 000 for unlawful presence in the National Park and for being in possession of weapons.
The Itezhi Tezhi Magistrate Court has also ordered for a social welfare report for the juvenile offender who is jointly charged with the fisherman.
Chinyama Kawele, 29 and a named Juvenile aged 18, all of Chitibwa Village in Chief Kaingu’s Chiefdom in Itezhi TezhiDistrict were charged with two counts.
The first count was unlawful entry into the National Park contrary to section 18(1) as read together with section 136 (a) of the Zambia Wildlife Act of 2015 of the laws of Zambia and the second count was unlawful possession of weapons in the National Park contrary to section 20(1) (b) of the Zambia Wildlife Act number 14 of 2015 of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that the duo, on 22nd August 2020, jointly and while acting together did enter the Kafue South National Park without a Park permit issued to them by the Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
The duo are also alleged on the same date to have jointly and while acting together had in their possession weapons that include 1 kapenta fishing net without a permit issued to them by the department of National Parks and Wildlife.
The duo pleaded guilty and Magistrates Keggan Litiaconvicted them upon their own confession.
Facts were that the accused were arrested on 22nd August, 2020, by the Wildlife Police officers attached to the Special Anti-Poaching Unit (SAPU) while in the Kafue National Park number 11 conducting lake patrols with a view of checking on illegal fishermen.
When asked to produce documents that allowed them to enter the national park and possess weapons, the accused persons only managed to produce fake duplicate of the entry permit and provided bogus names to the officers.
They were then apprehended and conveyed to Musa Gate where they were subsequently charged and arrested for the subject offences.
State Prosecutor Sydney Jere said the duo had no justification to enter the National Park without a permit.
In mitigation, Chinyama Kawele said he had repented and promised not to enter the park without a permit again and that he was looking after his old parents.
He further asked for leniency claiming that he was led by hunger to enter the park illegally in search of food.
In passing judgment, Magistrates Keggan Litia said, “I have paid attention to your mitigation but the offence you committed is a serious one and prevalent in Itezhi Tezhi district. Breaking the law is not a solution. There are other things one can do without breaking the law.”
Magistrates Litia then ordered Kawele to pay K120, 000 for each count and in default, face 3 months community service.
Magistrates Litia further ordered that a social welfare report be prepared for the juvenile offender before sentencing him.