Thursday, January 19, 2017
Govt wins cases on Anti-poaching as more than 200 people convicted
THE government has recorded tangible achievements in its anti-poaching drive after winning many cases in court of law as over 200 people have been convicted and sentenced to more than 20 years in 2016. The convicts have also paid 800m/- and they still owe the government 164bn/- as unpaid fines due to poaching activities, including unlawful possession of government trophies. The achievements were revealed yesterday by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Biswalo Maganga, at a press conference shortly after Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Major General Gaudence Milanzi, opened a special training course for technocrats from the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and heads of game reserves. The DPP noted, however that the cases had not been prominently covered unlike when the government were defeated in similar cases. “The government has won many cases for various offences, including poaching of government trophies… but they’re not given prominence in the media. But they are prominently covered by the same when the government is defeated” Mr Maganga remarked with concern. He said that the pace of combating poachers would be speeded up to make sure that all culprits are booked and that penalty for the culprits would be extended to totally eliminate trade in ivory and other government trophies. ‘We want those who have illicitly enriched themselves through this trade to end up their lives in jail and have their assets confiscated,” added the DPP. On his part, the Deputy Inspector- General of Police, Mr Abdulahaman Kaniki, said his force and other state organs would continue to arrest and drag to court all culprits so that they face the full wrath of the law. He ensured the public that no poaching suspect had been freed without being arraigned in court. In another development, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has stated that poaching significantly declined last year compared to preceding years, thanks to cooperation between security and defence forces and other authorities. In his opening remark, Maj. Gen. Milanzi revealed that the currently seized ivory were old stocks that were on transit to international markets. “Some people may ask why the seizure of ivory while poaching has been tamed. These trophies were stocked waiting to be transported abroad and are, therefore, not fresh ones,” he explained. The PS reiterated his call to poachers and their partners to look for other businesses or jobs as poaching was no longer safe or lucrative to them.