THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday sentenced Nyanza Commercial Farm Manager, Dilipkumar Patel, to 20 years in jail or pay 534m/- fine for illegal possession of 17 pieces of Lion claws, which are government trophies.
Principal Resident Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha imposed the sentence after convicting Patel with one count of relating to economic offence of unlawful possession of the government trophies, considering the evidence tendered by four prosecution witnesses.
The magistrate also took into consideration three exhibits, including the Lion claws, certificate of seizure and market value certificate of the government trophies involved and the defence testimony given by the convict.
He pointed out that the prosecution sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Patel committed the offence in question. The convict was sent to jail after he failed to pay the fine, as an alternative remedy that had been given by the court to the offence.
Before being sentenced, the convict requested the court to have mercy on him, because he was sick and that he has family members and other people who were depending on him.
During the trial, the prosecution had told the court that Mr Patel committed the offence on November 19, 2016 at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Ilala District, Dar es Salaam.
It was alleged that on that day and place, Mr Patel was found with 17 pieces of Lion claws, which are government trophies valued at 53,483,500/-, being the property of the United Republic of Tanzania without a permit from the Director of the Wildlife Division.
Mr Patel was brought before the court for the first time to answer the charge on November 28, 2016, where he was charged alongside two other people, Sanjv Patel and Ashok Kumar, whose case was determined in May this year, after he pleaded guilty to another separate charge besides what commonly faced them.