The State Attorney and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife vs. OBA'A ABOUTOU Celestin

Territorial subdivision
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Date of opinion

On the August 29 2017 the accused OBA'A ABOUTOU Celestin was arrested in Ebolowa by elements of the conservation service. He was arrested in possession of class A and B protected animal species, notably a baby chimpanzee and a bag weighing 5kg of pangolin scales. The accused was summoned to appear before the court of First Instance, Ebolowa, to respond to charges of illegal detention and circulation of a protected animal species, illegal detention of trophies of protected animal specie, and false declaration. At the time of his arrest, the accused gave a false name to the arresting officer but this was later discovered by State Attorney when the facts were being exposed that his real name is OBA'A ABOUTOU Celestin. That in June 2017, he was approached by an individual named John accompanied by a bike rider called ASSAKO whom he knows. John told him that his partner, a white man has commissioned him to search for leopard skins, ivories and pangolin scales. The accused responded to John that he had never engaged in this activity, but the latter insisted on putting him in touch with his white partner, who reiterated this request over a telephone call. Two weeks later the white man presented himself and told him he is here for two products pangolin scales and panther skin. The white man promised to send him money through John to start buying pangolin scales up to 5kg. As time unfolds, John indicated that the supply is insufficient and so added to the initial demand a baby chimpanzee and gorilla respectively. On August 25, 2017, one of the young people of the village to whom he had entrusted the task of finding the animals thus commanded, revealed to him that he had seen a small chimpanzee in the bush. He relayed this information to John who sent 5000 XAF for them to go capture it. The baby chimpanzee was captured and handed to John who was transporting with the 5kg pangolin scales using a vehicle and was arrested in a mixed control post by police and forestry and wildlife agents. At the close of interrogations, he was transmitted before the State Attorney for prosecution.

Language of document
Reference number
No. 858/COR
Illegal detention and circulation of a protected animal species, illegal detention of trophies of protected animal specie, and false declaration.
The accused OBA’A ABOUTOU Celestin was found guilty as charged species.
He was sentenced to four (04) months fixed term imprisonment, to pay 41.765 XAF for costs and 2.000.000 XAF for civil damages to the state of Cameroon through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.
Legislation cited
Law No. 94/01 of 20 January 1994 to lay down forestry, wildlife and fisheries regulations