CHINESE TO APPEAR IN COURT TODAY
An alleged ivory smuggler from China, who was nabbed late last week at Entebbe International Airport with ivory carvings while trying to fly out of the country, will appear in an Entebbe court today to answer a variety of charges. According to added reports now available he will appear with two more fellow travelers, who upon the discovery of the contraband in his luggage refused to leave the country. It is not clear though if they will also face charges, considering they did not have contraband on them or in their luggage, or appear as witnesses for the defense.
Should the accused be found guilty he, or they could face jail terms of up to three years and a fine of up to 10 million Uganda Shillings or a combination of both. The alleged smuggler will also face added charges of corrupting a public official, after paying US Dollars 150 to an airport security official who was subsequently also arrested and will face court for soliciting and accepting a bribe.
Fines and prison terms, across much of Africa, are however thought to be still too lenient and demands have grown louder in the recent past to increase prison terms to between 10 and 20 years for poaching, possession and smuggling of prohibited animal products including ivory and rhino horn, and to have fines set at a multiple of the market value of the confiscated contraband to inflict heavy economic punishment on poachers, smugglers and their middlemen and financial backers.
Once the court verdict is available, read all about it here, so watch this space.