By Sarah Munthali
Mchinji, July 22, Mana: The Mchinji Senior Resident Magistrate Court has sentenced six men each to six years imprisonment with hard labour for being found in possession of a pangolin.
The six are Chifundo Moses, David Njanji, Chitenje Kwenda, Moses Issa, Bicycle Banda, and Chisomo Banda.
The court heard through state prosecutor, Eugenio Yotamu that on January 30 this year in the afternoon police had received information about some suspicious men at Guillime trading centre.
He told the court that upon investigations, they arrested two men who revealed that they were selling a live Pangolin and that they were with colleagues who were at Tembwe trading centre.
Yotamu told the court that police had to follow up the matter and arrested other four suspects and recovered the Pangolin which the suspects hid in a sack.
The state prosecutor further told the court that the other suspect who is at large had motivated them to sell the Pangolin at a price of K800,000.00.
The court further heard through Yotamu that another suspect who is at large had facilitated transportation of the Pangolin from Mozambique to Malawi.
Two of the six suspects are Malawians but staying in Mozambique where they trade in gold mining.
In his submission, Yotamu said the six deserved a stiff punishment saying the offence was organised and it endangered wildlife in the country.
He argued that wild animals attract tourists in the country and therefore needed to be protected.
In mitigation, the suspects pleaded with the court to be lenient in passing sentence saying they were all family breadwinners.
However, Senior Resident Magistrate, Shareen Chirwa concurred with the state and sentenced the six each to six years imprisonment with hard labour.
Chifundo Moses, 23 years, hails from Zanga Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mavwere in Mchinji, David Njanji, 32 years, from Nyanthembi village in T/A Tengani in Nsanje, Chitenje Kwenda, 58 years, comes from Chimatira village, T/A Kaomba in Kasungu.
While Moses Issa, 35 years, comes from Mikochi Village in T/A Makanjira in Mangochi, Bicycle Banda, 27 years, from Kaligweni Village, T/A Simphasi in Mchinji and Chisomo Banda, 20 years, from Msulo village, T/A Kaomba in Kasungu.