A Douala magistrate’s court in Ndokoti has jailed an elephant tusk trafficker to one year imprisonment with a fine of 200,000 FCFA (about US$400).
Samuel Joel Manyombe, was jailed along with two of his accomplices, Lydie Makembe and Theopphile Tchiekou who also received one-year suspended sentences with a fine of 200,000 FCFA each.
The three were arrested on May 7, 2020 by agents of the Littoral Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife.
They were charged to court for illegal possession of two elephant tusks weighing 26 kilogrammes.
“The operation and the legal follow up of the procedure were realised with the assistance of the Last Great Ape (LAGA) non-governmental organisation, which is charged with the application of the wildlife law,” according to sources in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.
The judgement is seen as rare among the many legal decisions in pursuance of the law regulating the sector.
Observers say such cases are most times settled under the table with arrested persons cutting deals with forestry and wildlife agents.
The law on wildlife, it should be recalled, stipulates that all persons found in possession of all or part of a protected wildlife specie are considered as having killed the animal and subject to a prison term of one to three years and/or a fine of three to ten million FCFA.
Meanwhile, another elephant tusk trafficker is also being tried in the Ambam magistrate’s court in Ntem Valley Division, South Region.
The case which came up for mention on November 26, 2020 has been adjourned to December 17, 2020 in order to permit the lawyer representing the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to study the case file in order to appropriately present the case of government to the court.