9 years for illegal possession of python skin

Source: 9 years for illegal possession of python skin – DailyNews Live

Tarisai Machakaire      25 October 2017

HARARE – Three brothers who were arrested intending to sell a python skin
have been slapped with nine-year prison terms each.

Happison Kenias Manjoro, 42, Albert Kachomba, 46, Michael Dias Maira, 48,
were convicted of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act which prohibits
illegal possession of a specially-protected reptile’s skin

They were sentenced to the mandatory nine years’ imprisonment after
failing to proffer convincing special circumstances.

In passing sentence, Harare magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta said her hands were
tied and could only impose the mandatory nine-year jail term in the
absence of special circumstances.

“The offence is on the rise and a deterrent sentence is called for. It is
this court’s duty to protect these specially-protected animals because the
presence of that skin shows that at some point a python was alive but
killed,” Sabarauta said.

“If people like the accused persons are left unpunished, there is a danger
that these animals will go into extinction.”

Prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri proved that on August 26 around 11 am,
detectives from Minerals and Border Control Unit Harare received
information that Manjoro and his accomplices were in possession of a
python skin and were looking for a buyer.

Manjoro and his team went to National Arts Gallery with the skin. One of
the detectives, Masasa, masqueraded as a buyer and was in communication
with Kachomba.

Masasa teamed up with constables Chimunya and Chikuni before proceeding to
National Arts Gallery along Julius Nyerere Way in Harare.

When the detectives were at Crown Plaza Hotel, Masasa called Kachomba who
introduced Manjoro and Maira as his siblings.

The detectives requested to see the skin and Manjoro opened a grey satchel
which had the skin wrapped in plastic bags.

Manjoro then signalled his team to come to the scene by removing his cap
and they arrived before arresting the crew.

The accused persons were asked to produce a licence or permit authorising
them to possess the python skin but failed.

The skin was taken to National Parks and was valued at $2 000.