It was tears as a magistrates court in Kampala has sentenced a Congolese national to seven years’ imprisonment after being found in illegal possession of parrots.
Bob Mbaya Kabongo was last month arrested from Kisoro after being found with 122 grey African parrots trapped in two cages.
He was arrested in a joint operation by the UPDF, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Tourism Police in an operation conducted in Bunagana town at the Ugandan border with DRC.
On Thursday, Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court sentenced Mbaya to seven years imprisonment after being earlier convicted on his own plea of guilty to the offence.
The Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu said the punishment of seven years imprisonment will serve as a lesson to other would be offenders.
“Non-Ugandans have turned this country into a hub of illicit trade which has led to increased crime related to Wild Life in Uganda which has put the protected species at a risk of extinction. Therefore, the convict is sentenced to an imprisonment term of seven years,”Kamasanyu said.
She explained that there is need to redeem Uganda’s image which has been tarnished by mostly foreigners that use the country as a hub for illicit trade in wildlife.
The magistrate noted that the punishment will help warn others would wish to venture into this risky business to think twice before doing it.
Earlier, the state prosecutor from Uganda Wildlife has asked court to hand a 16 year jail sentence to the convict.
In mitigation, the Congolese national asked court for lenience saying he was a first offender but also has a young family , asking that he has reformed.
It was tears from the convict as the trial magistrate handed him the seven year jail sentence.
“In order to help the convict get reform but also redeem the image of this country to deter non-Ugandans from considering Uganda as a hub for illicit trade of wildlife products, I don’t consider a sentence of a fine as the most appropriate one. I therefore consider a sentence which is custodial in nature. I therefore sentence the convict to seven years for each of the two counts. Both sentences will run concurrently,” Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu said.