In May this year, following multiple joint operations by the Malawi Police Service and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, three Malawian and nine Chinese nationals were arrested in connection with a variety of wildlife crimes. The suspects were charged with offenses including the illegal possession of protected species and their parts, such as live pangolins, pangolin scales, rhino horn, elephant ivory, hippo ivory, multiple protected reptile species, and hardwood timber.
Two of the arrested Malawian nationals, Jimmy Mkwelezalemba, 38, and Julius Sanudia, 36, have now been sentenced to three years in prison by a court in Lilongwe, the capital. They were convicted for the possession and smuggling of pangolins. Both men are thought to be part of one of Africa’s largest transnational wildlife trafficking syndicates.