Two Men Jailed For Possessing Live Pangolin

Balaka Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court has sentenced two men to 30 months and 36 months imprisonment with hard labour for possessing a live pangolin contrary to Section 86 of the National Park and Wildlife Act.

Balaka Police Station public relations officer Gladson M’bumpha said the convicts are Gabriel Chilunga, 51, and Frank Phiri, 48.

He said Chilunga received a 30-month jail term while Phiri was handed a 36-month imprisonment with hard labour.

The court heard that on May 4 2023 at Kalambo Village in the district, Chilunga was found with a live pangolin valued at K7 million without a license from National Parks and Wildlife director.

In a related development, Phiri was also on May 6 2023 found with a pangolin without a licence.

M’bumpha said Phiri was arrested at Matawale in Zomba District.

He said they both pleaded not guilty to the charge of possessing a protected species (live pangolin). But after the State paraded four witnesses who established the case beyond a reasonable doubt, they were convicted.

During mitigation, the defendants, as first offenders, pleaded for leniency. But State prosecutor Bodwin Msukwa urged the court to impose a stern punishment as a deterrent to potential future offenders.

In her ruling, Senior Resident Magistrate Mercy Bonongwe agreed with the State and handed them custodial sentences.

Chilunga hails from Chikanda Village in Traditional Authority Chikowi while Frank Phiri is from Mwindano Village in Traditional Authority Mwambo both in Zomba District.

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