A 66-year-old farmer of   Itezhi tezhi District in Central Province has pleaded not guilty to possessing a live Pangolin, a protected animal.

 Imakando Silishebo of Masasabi farming block in Chief Kaingu’s area in Itezhi tezhi is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a protected animal contrary to section 130 of   Wildlife Act number 14 of 2015 of the laws of Zambia.

Particulars of the offense are that Imakando Silishebo on June 13, 2019 in Itezhi tezhi jointly and while acting together with other persons, did possess one live pangolin, a protected animal, without Certificate of ownership.

According to the Certificate of Identification, the juvenile Pangolin weighing 3.5 kg is valued at K23, 438.

When the matter came up for trial before Itezhi tezhi Magistrates Keggan Litia, Silishebo denied the charge

And first witness in the matter Kennedy Mweetwa (55) a Ranger at Department of National Park Parks and Wildlife (DNPW)   testified that on June 13, 2019, he examined a trophy that was brought before him which he identified as a live juvenile Pangolin.

He explained that after identifying the trophy, he handed over Silishebo to the arresting officer.

Meanwhile  Royd Chibochi,45, a wildlife Police officer testified that  on the material day , he was allocated a docket of case involving  three men with a bag  containing a live pangolin.

He explained that after investigations, he made up his mind to charge and arrest the trio.

Chibochi said that the other two men that were jointly charged with Silishebo pleaded guilty and were sentenced to five years.

Chibochi further testified that the live Pangolin that was found in the possession of the trio was disposed off by the Itezhi tezhi Magistrates court.

A pangolin is an endangered protected species and illegal possession of it attracts a mandatory minimum of five years.

And State Prosecutor Samadi Banda told the court that they had closed their prosecution in this case and Magistrates Litia adjourned the case to Tuesday June 16, 2019 for ruling.

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