Congolese National Handed 7yr Sentence By Ugandan Court Over Wildlife Trafficking

Congolese National Handed 7yr Sentence By Ugandan Court Over Wildlife Trafficking

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By Spy Uganda

The Standards, Utilities and Wildlife court this week sentenced a Congolese national identified as Mbaya Kabongo Bob to 7 years in jail for each of 2 counts of importing wildlife specimens into Uganda without a valid license and unlawful possession of protected wildlife species contrary to sections 62(2),(a)(3) and 71(1),(b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act 2019 respectively.

The sentencing comes after Mbaya pled guilty to the offenses, and he will serve both sentences concurrently.

Mbaya was arrested on April 14, 2022, during a joint operation conducted by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF), and Uganda Police in Kibaya village of the Bunagana town council Kisoro district. He was found in possession of 2 cages containing 122 African Grey Parrots, 3 of which were dead and 2 more died later.

Hangi Bashir, Communications Manager at UWA said: “ Seven years for Mbaya in jail will serve as a warning to others in the business of wildlife trafficking or those who intend to get involved in this business that Uganda cannot be used as either a transit route or a destination for trafficked wildlife species. We applaud the judiciary and in particular, the judicial officer who presided over the case for swiftly dispensing justice for the parrots that were being trafficked and those that died in the process.

“The African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is one of the endangered species whose population decline is attributed to harvest for international trade and habitat loss among others.”

“The global population of the African Grey Parrot is currently estimated between 40,000 to 100,000. We should, therefore, protect this bird to ensure that it does not become extinct.”

The Wildlife Act of 2019 provides for up to a life sentence and a fine of UGX 20 billion, or both, for wildlife crimes involving endangered species.

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