Two Ugandans and Nigerian national are in trouble for attempting to buy a tortoise from Queen Elizabeth National Park. The suspects are Sunday Obwara, a Nigerian national and Moses Magara and Buston Tukamushaba, residents of Kasese and Kabale districts respectively.
They appeared on Wednesday before the Rukungiri Grade one magistrate, Faiso Ngamije Mbale. Court heard that on March 12th, 2018 while at Kikarara Village of Bwambara Sub County in Rukungiri district, the suspects were found bargaining to buy a tortoise from rangers from Queen Elizabeth National park.
The prosecution witness, Zadack Masereka, a police constable told court that they found the suspects with unidentified girl inside a house taking sodas while pretending to be visitors yet they were negotiating a deal to buy the tortoise.
According to Maseruka, he searched the house found the tortoise in a bucket of water. Maseruka told court that even though he didn’t know the owner of the house, he arrested the accused persons for dealing in protected species.
Section 75 of the Wildlife Act 1996 says person found guilty of selling and buying protected species is liable to a fine of not less than one million Shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or to both; and in any case, the fine shall not be less than the value of the specimen involved in the commission of the offence.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charge and asked court to acquit them. The Rukungiri Grade one magistrate, Faiso Ngamije Mbale set June 26th to deliver his judgment and adjourned court.