The Mangochi First Grade Magistrate Court ordered two men to pay each K90,000 or in default serve 12 months imprisonment for illegally cutting down indigenous trees in Liwonde National Park.
The two, Wyson Maxon, 42, and Idrissa Bonongwe, 32, were found guilty of destructing wildlife species.
This is contrary to Section 35 of National Parks and Wildlife Act of 2017.
Mangochi police public relations officer Rodrick Maida said the court heard, through State Prosecutor Sub Inspector Maxwell Mwaluka, that on December 22, 2019 wildlife personnel were patrolling Liwonde National Parks and found the two cutting down trees for timber sawing.
“They were instantly arrested and had their pitman saw and panga knife confiscated,” Maida said.
During court, Maxon and Bonongwe admitted to the charge levelled against them and were subsequently found guilty on their own plea.
In mitigation, both convicts asked for leniency saying they acted out of ignorance.
However the State prayed for stiff penalty citing the tendency of the convicts was a threat to listed species.
Passing sentence, First Grade Magistrate Augustine Mizaya concurred with the state slapped the two with a K90,000.00 fine each or default 12 months imprisonment with hard labour to deter the malpractice.
Both convicts come from Chikuwanje Village in the area of Traditional Authority Bwananyambi in Mangochi District.