A UPDF Officer Captain Katushabe Patrick was on November 22, 2022 sentenced to a fine of 15 million Uganda shillings in default to serve 6 years in jail for unlawful possession of wildlife specimens and conspiracy to commit a felony upon his plea of guilt.
Katushabe was arrested on November 5, 2022 by UWA personnel at Nansana in Wakiso District with 13 pieces of ivory and 2 pieces of Hippopotamus teeth weighing 28.9 and 1.65 kilograms respectively. The specimens were hidden in the boot of a white motor vehicle registration no UBM 662K.
He was taken to Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court before Her Worship Tusiime Sarah on November 17, 2022 and charged with unlawful possession of protected wildlife specimen and conspiracy to commit a felony. On November 22, court sentenced Katushabe to 10 million Uganda Shillings or 6 years in jail for the charge of unlawful possession of protected wildlife specimens and 5 million Uganda shillings or 5 years in jail for conspiracy to commit a felony. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Her Worship Tusiime Sarah while passing the sentence told the convict that his actions were unfortunate given his title at the UPDF. She said that the accused knew what he was doing and she dismissed the excuse of the convict being lured by the offence.
She said that there is need to protect Uganda’s wildlife and that can be done by sending a strong signal to other out who are engaging in illegal wildlife trade.
The prosecutor informed court that the convict is a serving UPDF officer who understands the laws better than any other person and he should be seen promoting wildlife conservation instead of condoning illegal wildlife trade. He also informed court that wildlife offences are on the increase which has continued to undermine the tourism industry and if no serious action is taken, many wildlife species may go extinct in Uganda.
The Executive Director UWA Sam Mwandha welcome the sentence saying that the law does not know any one’s status or position in government. “We will continue to implement the law with a high degree of professionalism keeping no blind eye to anyone regardless of one’s status or position in government”, he said.