By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court on Thursday sentenced a Ugandan identified as Ochiba Pascal, an ivory dealer to life imprisonment for unlawful possession of protected species.
According to Uganda Wild Life Authority(UWA), Ochiba a resident of Namuwongo zone in Kampala was arrested on January 18, 2022, in Namuwongo zone, Kampala after being found in possession of two pieces of elephant ivory weighing 9.55 kilograms without a wildlife use right.
Wlie sentencing Ochiba, the Chief Magistrate of the Standards, Utilities and Wildlife Court Gladys Kamasanyu said that the offences of unlawful possession of protected species are rampant and there is a need to curb them.
“Uganda is home to the world’s most known wildlife ranging from iconic mammals like elephants to small ones like pangolins that need to be protected,” Kamasanyu said.
The chief magistrate added that Ociba is a habitual wildlife trafficker, having been charged in 2017 with two counts of unlawful possession of protected species and convicted by the same court.
Kamasanyu also noted that the ivory dealer does not deserve the leniency of the law because he is a threat to wildlife conservation.
“Leaving Ochiba in circulation increases the risk of killing endangered species, he deserves a sentence that will contribute to making the world a safer place for wildlife and humans,” Kamasanyu added.
She further noted that Ochiba was first arrested on July 4, 2017, from Namuwongo after being found with four pieces of ivory, dry skin of an Okapi without valid use righy and was sentenced to eighteen months in jail for both counts which he served concurrently.
Sam Mwandha, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority described the sentence as a landmark achievement in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
“We are happy to see the maximum sentence being handed to a wildlife offender. This is a landmark achievement in our war on illegal wildlife trade in Uganda. We must do our best in our times to protect our wildlife otherwise history will judge us harshly”, Mwandha said.