Businessman of Asian origin fined K22m for illegal Ivory possession

Blantyre : Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday ordered a Malawian business man of Asian origin Sanjay Yashan to pay K22 million or in default serve 10 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for the offence of illegal possession of foreign currency as well as processed Ivory.

Appearing before the court, Yashan, who was answering charges of illegal possession of foreign currency contrary to section 25 of the exchange control regulation as read with section 3 of the exchange control Act and illegal possession of listed species contrary to section 86 (1) as read with section 110 A (b) of national parks and wildlife Act, respectively, pleaded not guilty and denied both charges.

The offences were jointly prosecuted by Regional Prosecutions Officer for the Southern Region, Superintendent Christopher Katani, former Blantyre Station Police Prosecutor, Superintendent Davie Kaputa and Sub Inspector Justice Manolo of Blantyre Police Station.

The prosecuting witnesses told the court that the accused, Yashan, 58, on April 11, 2018 was found with US$14,031, 2,770 South African Rands and 100 British Pound Sterling both at his shop in Limbe and at his house in Mapanga without the permission of either the Ministry of Finance or the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

Further search by fiscal police also led to the discovery of 11 pieces of processed Ivory weighing 14.8 kilogrammes valued at K22, 792, 000.00 without any authority from Director of National Parks and Wildlife, the court heard from the prosecuting team.

During the case the state paraded five witnesses while the accused who was represented by lawyer Chimwemwe Kalua of Golden and Law Associate called for three defense witnesses.

However, after full trial the court found the accused guilty and convicted him on both counts.

In mitigation, Kalua pleaded with the court to consider the age of the convict saying at 58, Yashan was old and that he suffers from hypertension and diabetes such that a custodial sentence would be detrimental to his life.

Passing the sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate, Peter Kandulu slapped Yashan with K150, 000, 00 fine in default serve 14 months IHL on the first count and K22, 792, 000. 00 in default serve 10 years IHL on the second count.

The court ordered that the foreign currency be paid back to the convict upon payment of the two fines.

The accused has since paid both fines.

Yashan resides in Mapanga in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Machinjiri in Blantyre.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA