A man who was found with 200 kilograms of Zebra meat last month was on Tuesday sentenced by a Nyahururu Court to pay a Sh.2.2 million fine or serve 11 years in prison in default.
Joseph Maina Irungu, aged 23 years, had pleaded guilty to three counts when he appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate (SRM), Susan Mwangi.
He was charged that on September 12, this year at Nkoisusu village within Rumuruti area in Laikipia County, he was found in possession of wildlife species contrary to the wildlife conservation act.
Irungu was also charged with dealing in game meat after he was found cutting off zebra meat without a permit.
The SRM had ordered a social inquiry report be produced in court on Irungu’s background after he also admitted killing the zebra for meat.
“The accused is a casual laborer who claims, while travelling on a boda boda, the motorcycle rammed into the zebra that fell. They opted to hack the zebra for meat.
“He is a youthful first offender who has pleaded guilty at the first instance and shows remorse,” noted Probation Officer, Polycarp Wandera, while recommending a three year non-custodial sentence.
While delivering her ruling and sentence the Magistrate fined the offender Sh.1 million or he serves five years imprisonment for killing wildlife species without permit.
He was also fined another Sh.200, 000 or 1 year imprisonment for count two and Sh.1 million or 5 years imprisonment for being in possession of wildlife trophy (zebra), all the sentences running consecutively.
However the ruling has elicited mixed reactions from members of the public with most advocating for lenient sentences with the current congestion being experienced in the prisons.
“This is a job well done but should be followed up with what we are doing to minimize poaching and human wildlife conflict like conducting sensitization forums and compensation to be made to victims of animal conflicts.
“Let’s take note that these people fail to pay hefty fines and end up being state guests,” said a person who sought anonymity.
The court granted the convict 14 days within which he can appeal the sentence.
By David Njoroge/Jesee Mwitua