Elephant tusk suspect gets fine of N.dollars 8 000

10 Feb 2016 08:00am
MUKWE, 10 FEB (NAMPA) - A man found in possession of four elephant tusks was sentenced to a fine of N.dollars 8 000 or three years’ imprisonment in the Mukwe District Court on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old Mushambe Kutenda appeared before Magistrate Barry Mufana, who presided over the matter, while Gottlieb Nghinogelwa prosecuted.
Kutenda was caught with elephants tusks valued at N.dollars 105 372 at Diyana village in the Mukwe Constituency in 2014.
The accused is charged with unlawful possession of controlled wildlife products in terms of Schedule 1 of the Controlled Wildlife Products Act No 9 of 2008.
Kutenda pleaded guilty to this charge.
In his statement, Kutenda admitted to the court that his conduct was wrong and against the law and thus pleaded guilty as a token of remorse for his actions.
“I plead and beg for a minimum sentence and intend not to waste the court’s time,” he stated.
Kutenda further told the court that he has three children and a fiancé and that he is his family’s breadwinner. The court also heard that the accused does odd jobs (plumbing) to sustain his family.
He is a first-time offender and has no pending cases.
During sentencing, Magistrate Mufana said he considers Kutenda’s personal circumstances although he added the crime committed is serious.
He concurred with the prosecutor that crimes of illegal hunting are serious, adding that the elephants must have been hunted by someone.
“The growing rate of these crimes is hampering economic growth opportunities for the country and could be the downfall of the tourism industry,” he stressed.
Kutenda was represented by Rundu-based lawyer Vernon Lutibezi of Lutibezi Attorneys.