Malawi court convicts 7 Chinese, 2 Malawians on wildlife crimes: Sentencing July 3
June 21, 2020 Harold Kapindu -Nyasa Times
The Lilongwe Magistrate Court on Friday convicted seven Chinese nationals and two Malawians for committing wildlife crimes in the country.
The convicted Chinese nationals included Lin Yun Hua aka Li Hao Yuan, who is dubbed Malawi’s most wanted suspected wildlife trafficker and notorious kingpin.
Lin Yun Hua already pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal possessions of specimen of listed and protected species, 103 pieces of Rhino horn.
After delivering the judgement, Senior Resident Magistrate Florence Msekandiwana further notified the court that sentencing will be delivered on July 3 2020 after both the state and defense file documents related to aggravating and mitigating factors.
In his remarks, State Councel Andy Kaonga said it was satisfying hearing that all the accused persons have been found guilty.
“Today is a good day. Its a day that we have been waiting for and we now have to move to the next step. We are lucky that the judiciary has sentencing guidelines.
“We just have to go back and look at the guidelines and guide the court on what sentences should be given to the convicted individuals,” Kaonga explained.
Kaonga attributed the victory to the enough evidence presented by the state and the inconsistencies in the defense evidence. “The magistrate even indicated that some of the evidence presented by the accused were fit to be in a novel. I think they were too desperate. They tried to put up some kind of a story. The inconsistencies were too great. Not only that, but also, as the state, we provided our evidence too,” he said.
The Chinese nationals also include Jingfu Zeng, Guozhong Zang, Gouhua Zhang, Yanwu Zhou, Ya Shen Zhou and Qinhua Zhang (wife of Lin Yun Hua) while the Malawians are Cosmas Sakugwa and Steve Daza.
A total of 10 Chinese and four Malawian nationals were arrested in 2019 in relation to the syndicate in question and are at various stages of trial.