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Singida Men, Refugee Sentenced to 20yrs for Poaching

Seven poachers, including a refugee, have been each sentenced to 20 years in jail after they were found guilty of illegally possessing elephant tusks worth Sh34 million.

The Singida Resident Magistrate’s Court also found them guilty of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition they used for poaching.

The seven have also been ordered to pay Sh1.9 billion.

They were also convicted of conspiracy to conduct poaching and illegal possession of other government trophies.

The convicts are Yusuph Masala Jidavi, 39, Elias John Sprian, 30, Salum Mohammed Ngasa, 31, Yona Stanley alias Yohana, 26, Ramadhani Salum Hatibu, 33, Kulwa Saidi Salum, 28, and Buhoro Salehe Lubaha Yakonie, 37 alias Buhoro who lives at Katumba refugee camp in Tabora.

State attorney Pretrida Mutta told resident magistrate-in-charge Joyce Minde that the accused were jointly arrested between August 2013 and July 2014 for illegal possession of 28 pieces of elephant tusks worth Sh34 million.

She said that the seven were also found in possession of six elephant tufts worth Sh192m and lion skin worth Sh7.8m

Ms Mutta asked for a severe punishment to deter others from engaging in such business which affects local communities and wildlife populations.

The lawyer defending the accused Josephat Wawa was not present when the sentence was read. They separately asked for leniency on them, claiming that were solely depended by their families.

Reading the judgment, magistrate Minde said she had found them guilty as charged because prosecution proved their offence beyond reasonable doubt.

“The accused will each serve 20 years in jail and pay Sh274.2 million. I hope that this will be a deterrent to other poachers,” she said.

By Robert Muriisa.

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