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Malawi Defence Force Officer to Serve Five Years Prison Sentence Over Pangolin


Senior Resident Magistrate James Mankhwazi, sitting at Salima Magistrate Court, on Monday, 31 October 2022, sentenced Malawi Defence Force (MDF) officer Manison Anania Msokwa to five years imprisonment with hard labour for possessing and offering for sale a Pangolin.

Msokwa, who was based in Salima, had faced two charges in a prolonged case presided over by Senior Resident Magistrate Joanna Kwatiwani, on whose behalf Magistrate Mankhwazi delivered the sentence.

The charges were: possession of specimen of listed species contrary to section 86 (1) as read with section 110B(b) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act (NPWA) and offering for sale specimen of listed species contrary to section 86(1) as read with section 110B(b) of the NPWA.

The NPWA provides for a maximum prison sentence of 30 years for these crimes, with no option of fine.

Msokwa was found guilty and convicted on both charges some months ago and was on remand awaiting sentencing. Magistrate Mankhwazi gave him five years prison sentence for each count and the sentences will run concurrently.

The MDF officer, who served for 31 years in the service, was arrested on 15th December, 2020 at Total filling station at Salima Boma. He was in full MDF uniform together with other suspects in a Toyota Ractis, which the court ruled must be forfeited to the state.

Following his arrest and subsequent charging, prosecutors and defence–with their witnesses–have been in and out of court for nearly two years.

On making final submissions for sentencing, prosecutors presented, among others, the following as aggravating factors: