Crime & Investigation

MBARARA: Man Arrested With Shs13.5m Ivory

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Jackson Baluku

Police in Mbarara District with help from Natural Resource Conservation Network (NRCN) has arrested a man in possession of 33.8kgs of Elephant tusks worth 13.5 million shillings.

Jackson Baluku, 42, a motor vehicle broker and a resident of Lower Zone Base Camp Kasese Municipality was nabbed while carrying out a transaction in Mbarara town.

A statement from NRCN by Joshua Poro indicates that Baluku told police that it was not the first time he was being apprehended.

“According to Baluku, this is not the first time he is being arrested while dealing in wildlife species. In 2015 he was arrested and convicted with 4 others for being in possession of ivory while in the same year he was arrested for allegedly providing a hyenas liver which would have been used to poison some high ranking government officials,” the statement reads.

The suspect, the statement further states, is currently being detained at Mbarara Central Police station where he will be further questioned then arraigned in court.

NRCN Head of Legal and Prosecution Leonard Massa, holds that the suspect will be charged with “unlawful possession of a protected species contrary to Sections 30 and 75 (b) of the Uganda Wildlife Act CAP 200” which provides for the offence of unlawful possession of protected species.

The punishment is a fine of not less than Shs1m or not more than 5 years imprisonment and in any case the fine must be not less than the value of the wildlife product involved.

Baluku also faces being charged with conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to section 390 of the penal code act. This offence attracts a maximum sentence of 7 years in Prison.

The aggravating factors include concealing the contraband inside a sack.

According to the O.C CID Mbarara D/ASP Bosco Mutabazi, the offence of wildlife trafficking is not rampant in the district.

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