By Charles Mpaka
A week before a planned International march on October 4 against elephant massacre and the continued lenient sentences on wildlife crimes, Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife plans to appeal against a ruling in which a trafficker was fined K150,000 only after being found in possession of 28 tusks of ivory.
Police at Kamuzu International Airport arrested Kesha Kwenda, 24, from Balaka for attempting to smuggle the tusks and an assortment of carved products consisting of 66 bracelets, 80 tablet pieces of ivory, 60 bungles, two necklaces and two stumps destined for China on September 8 this year.
The artifacts are believed to have originated from an estimated 17 elephants.
Kwenda attempted to beat the baggage security system by concealing the ivory in duvets in his baggage. However, airport law-enforcers became suspicious of the excess baggage he carried on his way to Hong Kong and China.
After conducting a thorough electronic scanning on the contents, it was discovered that he was in possession of illegal ivory destined for China, the thriving global market for illicit ivory trade.
Upon realising that his baggage had been seized, Kwenda escaped but was arrested some days later.
On September 25 Mkukula First Grade Magistrate Chidima charged the accused for contravening the National Parks and Wildlife Act, under Section 98, which states that, “Any person who contravenes regulations made under sub-section (1) which impose restrictions on imports, exports or re-exports of specimen of a protected species shall be guilty of an offence.” More....