Published on : Monday, January 13, 2014
Anyone caught in the act of poaching will have to go through stringent measures and penalties according to the proposed act.
The media has been awash with cases of the Uganda Revenue Authority impounding lots of ivory, the latest being a consignment of 440 ivory impounded at Entebbe Airport on December 22.
Akankwasah Barirega, the ministry’s principal wildlife officer, said that the proposed amendments were now at cabinet level. Once cabinet had approved them, they would proceed from there.
Once cabinet passes the proposed act, it will to parliament. After parliament has passed it the president has to assent to it, to become a law.
Barirega said that there was a need to establish minimum penalties which are harsh enough to deter people from poaching and other related activities.
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Barirega said that under the current UWA 1996 Act, the minimum penalty one could face for engaging in poaching-related activities was a sentence not exceeding more than seven years in prison. The law he felt was very weak.
He said that in the last one year only about eight people were successful prosecuted, regarding poaching-related activities. The maximum fine was about sh2m.
The two officials from forwarding and clearing firms arrested in connection with the 440 pieces of ivory were released without charges.
Most of the ivory that is seized by the URA is not of the Ugandan elephants. Uganda is used to transfer the ivories to Asia. Uganda has 3000 elephants more from 2000 in 1980. It currently has 5000 elephants now. It has lost 5 elephants annually in 2012 the number reduced to 25 and in 2013 the number came down to 11 these numbers were given by the conservation area manager at UWA.