Chief Magistrate Goodwill Makofi has expressed concern at the rate at which an endangered animal; the Pangolin is being poached of late.
Makofi said this on Monday when seven men appeared before court facing one count of capturing a pangolin.
Tshephang Sekao 28, Kutlo Kgokilwe Village 32, Moganetsi Lawrence 29, Dipuo Jambe 36, Monneng Jambe, Pako Kavari 24 and Boikobo Lebokwane 30 on the 20th of December last year in Gaborone were allegedly found in possession of two Pangolins.
State Prosecutor Kelekang Tshepho told court that they did not oppose bail for the accused persons. He said the two Pangolins were suspected to have been poached in the Kgalagardi area and they have since been handed back to the Wildlife Department.
When asked if they have something to say, Kavari told court that he is a student at Botswana Accountancy College and he will be writing his final examination in May so he needed time to study.
The Chief Magistrate however interrupted the accused man and asked him to explain what accountants had done with pangolins.
He said he should have thought about his studies before committing such crime.
Makofi said he was surprised at the prosecution decision to allow the poachers to be granted bail despite the rising number of pangolin poaching.
He noted that since last year June, four similar cases have been registered in court.
He said he did not know what message prosecution was trying to send by granting the suspects bail.
“There has been a recent trend of people found in possession of Pangolins and this should concern all law abiding citizens. Botswana has been blessed with beautiful flora and fauna and if we are not careful we will lose all that. It shows some people have found a market for the Pangolins to enrich themselves,” Makofi said
He ordered that the accused persons be granted bail on conditions that they enter into own recognizance in the sum of P2 000 each and produce one surety each who will bind himself or herself with P1000.
He said they should not be involved in wildlife offences whilst on bail and report to court when required to do so.
The accused persons will be back in court on the 27th of May for their next mention.