The Itezhi Tezhi Magistrates court has convicted and fined seven fishermen of Itezhi Tezhi District for being in possession fish during a fish.
Mike Tembo,38, of Batunga area, Smart Sosopi,37, of Kachenjela area, Elijah Maliti,35,of Chibolya and Pelekelo Sikunda, 36 , of Chibolya, were jointly charged and appeared first in court while Jeremiah Telebwe,22, of Lilanda Compound in Itezhi Tezhi and Gift Kabaza,21, of Batunga area in Chief Shimbizhi’s Chiefdom were also jointly charged and appeared separately charged with three counts.
In the first count the septet were charged with unlawful entry into the National Park, where it is alleged that Tembo, Sosopi, Maliti, Pelekelo, Telebwe and Kabaza on January 3, 2020, and January 11, 2020, jointly and while acting together did enter the Kafue South National Park without a permit.
In the second count the septet were charged with unlawful possession of weapons in the National Park, where it is alleged that on the 3rd and 11th January, they jointly and while acting together had in their possession weapons namely fishing nets and wooden boats.
In the third count the septet stood charged with unlawful possession or dealing in fish or fish products during closed season contrary to section 60(a) as read with section 14(a) and (3) of the Fisheries Act no. 22 of 2011.
Particulars are that Tembo, Sosopi, Maliti and Pelekelo, and Telebwe and Kabaza on 3rd and Fourth January, jointly and while acting together had in their possession 89kgs and 7kgs of fish respectively during the fish ban.
When the matter came up for plea, both pleaded guilty and magistrates Keggan Litia convicted them upon their own confession.
Facts of the case were that January 3, 2020, wildlife police officers were patrolling the Kafue National Park on Lake Itezhi Tezhi when they came across the now accused persons who had in their possession 7 and 89 kgs of fish respectively. They were asked to produce permits which allowed them to enter the National Park but failed. The police officers then apprehended them and conveyed them to Ngoma Wildlife Office where they were charged with the subject offences.
The public prosecutor Luckson Ngoma argued that accused persons had no justification to possess the fish or enter the park without authority.
In mitigation the septet asked for the court to exercise leniency as they were first offenders who did not waste court’s time by pleading guilty to the offence.
In sentencing the accused persons, Magistrates Litia said “ the offences you have committed are very serious one and they are prevalent in this area, I therefore order you pay 120,000 for each count in default 9 months community service” he said.
Itezhi Tezhi magistrates Keggan Litia fined each K120, 000, in default 9 months community service.