UPDF officer fined Sh5m for unlawful possession of Ostrich eggs

court also convicted three people of being in unlawful possession of 102 crocodile eggs, 12 hippopotamus canines, and 12 incisors weighing 10.2 kilograms.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Standards, Wildlife, and Utilities Magistrate Court has fined Warrant Officer David Okot sh5milllion after being found in unlawful possession of six ostrich eggs.

The ruling was made Thursday by Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu and now the officer risks three years’ imprisonment once he fails to pay the fine.

According to the court, while at Petua Garden Katakwi Town Council in Katakwi District on March 10th, 2023, Okot was found in possession of the six ostrich eggs without a wildlife use right. Okot pleaded guilty and was immediately convicted.

Prosecutors argued for a deterrent sentence, stating that the eggs were ready for possible hatching and are currently at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre – UWEC.

They noted that the eggs should have produced six ostriches and that only four remain in the Karamoja region, meaning that there would have been ten ostriches if Okot had not picked up the eggs.

In his defence, Okot asked for a lenient sentence, saying he saw the eggs in the forest and picked them out of curiosity.

In her ruling, Kamasanyu said that the offence committed by Okot is rampant and is causing wildlife to go extinct, which is a significant concern. She was surprised that a Soldier, who is expected to set an example for the rest of the country, would commit such a crime.

Kamasanyu ruled that a deterrent sentence would be appropriate to help Okot reform and conserve nature, sentencing him to a fine of 5 Million shillings or three years in jail should he fail to pay.

In a related development, the same court also convicted three people of being in unlawful possession of 102 crocodile eggs, 12 hippopotamus canines, and 12 incisors weighing 10.2 kilograms.

The trio, Clovis Mugume, Ibrahim Asiimwe, and Joshua Kabagambe, conspired to sell wildlife products without a use right on March 5th, 2023, within Bweramule village in Ntoroko District.

After their conviction, the three requested to be pardoned, stating that they are family men with more than eight children each and do not have a criminal record.

Kamasanyu sentenced them to a fine of 5 million Shillings each or two years in jail if they fail to pay. While passing the sentence, Kamasanyu said that people who can attack animals are often brave enough to attack humans, so it’s necessary to deter such crimes by handing down deterrent sentences.

“If nothing is done to check the crime, the country risks losing all the wildlife, which will come with all consequences of not having wildlife not only to Uganda but of the whole World, and wildlife has ceased to be a domestic problem it’s a global challenge. It affects the entire world,” said Kamasanyu.

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