The Itezhi Tezhi Magistrates court has found two women with no case to answer in a matter they were charged with possession of 178.6 kilograms of meat of protected and non-protected animals.
Magistrates Mugala Chalwe set the women free because of failure by the state to prove the case against them.
This is in a case where Annie Kawalika, 36, of Mazabuka in Southern Province and Gladys Mungabwa, 43, of Shanfunaula village in Chief Kaingu’s Chiefdom in Itezhi Tezhi District in Central Province were both charged with two counts of wildlife related offences.
In the first count, the duo were charged with unlawful possession of meat of protected animal contrary to section 130 (1) of the Zambia Wildlife Act number 14 of 2015 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence are that the duo, on 18th July 2020, in Itezhi Tezhi, jointly and whilst acting together, had in their possession assorted meat of protected animals namely 35.1kgs of Sable Antelope and 10.1kgs of Roan Antelope without a certificate of ownership issued to them by the Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
In the second count, the duo were charged with unlawful possession of government trophy, contrary to section 97 (1) of the Zambia Wildlife Act number 14 of 2015.
Particulars of the offence are that on the same day, the duo, in Itezhi Tezhi jointly and whilst working together, had in their possession assorted game meat namely 94.4kgs of buffalo meat and 39kgs of warthog meat without a certificate of ownership issued to them by the Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
When the matter came up for plea before Itezhi Tezhi Magistrate Mugala Chalwe earlier, Kawalika and Mungabwa pleaded not guilty to both counts and the matter went to trial.
In her ruling, magistrate Chalwe said the evidence of the prosecution was discredited during cross examination and that testimonies of the state’s first and second witnesses were not collaborating.
Magistrates Mugala then acquitted the accused on all the counts and set them free.
Possession of a prescribed government trophy attracts a mandatory sentence of 5 years imprisonment while possession of government trophy is finable.
Roan Antelope and the giant Sable Antelope are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’ s critically endangered species.