8 May 2018

Uganda: Congolese National Sentenced to One Year in Prison Over Poaching

The Utilities Court at Buganda road in Kampala has sentenced a customs officer at the Nyaka-Nya Congo Uganda boarder to one year in jail over unlawful possession of protected species skin.

Jules Unega, a Congolese national appeared in a session presided over by the chief magistrate James Ereemye and pleaded guilty to possession of an Okapi skin.

Upon pleading guilty, the prosecutors led by Ms Maureen Ninsiima said the charges against the suspect are of a serious nature as they pose a risk of extinction to endangered species in the wild, which has greatly affected Uganda's tourism sector.

Ms Ninsiima as well prayed for a deterrent sentence for the convict asserting that if such activity is not curtailed it will continue frustrating government revenue as number of tourists will decrease.

During mitigation, the suspect sought for a lenient sentence asserting that he is a family man with a lot of responsibilities.

Unega further informed court that he has learnt a lesson from his time on remand and that once fled, he will go back to his village to enlighten the masses on the dangers of poaching.

Mr Ereemye ruled: "The convict is hereby sentenced to 12months in jail and this will act as a deterrence to would be offenders. The skin confiscated from the suspect should be handed to Uganda Wildlife Authority for further management."

Prosecution told court that on April 21 at Alisi-Uganda Congo border check point in Zombo District, Unega was found in possession of an Okapi John Stone skin weighing 24 kilograms valued at over Shs13 million.


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