Prosecution led by Mr Allan Mucunguzi, had asked court to hand them a deterrent and custodial sentence, arguing that many Kenyans have come onto the Ugandan waters on Lake Victoria and continued to use mosquito nets which are not authorised to do fishing, to carry out their illegal activities.
The suspects include Patrick Ojjambo , Stephen Odiambo , Samson Onyango, Paul Mboya ,Masson Opondo, Michael Otieno , Vincent Wanga ,Rober Okello, William Otieno , Wycliffe Onyango , Zake Obwaka , Dedan Ouma , Thomas Okoth , Benado Ogweno , Richard Omono , Daniel Owor , Kevin Audi , Kennedy Chenge , George Ouma Benard Ocho and Kevin Odwor , Samson Odenga.
Others are Samson Owino, Francis Omondi ,Eston Ogweno , Tom Otieno , Benjamin Duloch , Kervin Ochieng ,James Juma Ragara , Collins Okado , Glen Washington Onyango, Denis Omondi Ojowa , Samson Omondi , Maurice Mulumba, Eric Kalanga Ochieng , Silas Omondi , Sephama Ochieng, Joel Odhiambo , Esau Dimo Opio and Chrisphine Juma Othieno.
The Standards, Utilities, and Wildlife Court in Kampala has fined 40 Kenyan fishermen Shs700,000 each for fishing on the Ugandan side of Lake Victoria without the legal requirements, among them a valid license.
The group was arrested in July and upon appearing in court, they pleaded guilty to charges of possession of prohibited fishnets and fishing without a license.
They had been jailed for one month pending the pronouncement of the punishment by court
Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu, at Standards, Utilities and Wildlife court sitting at Buganda Road while sentencing the 40 men, ruled that illegal fishing activities are very rampant and must be curbed to conserve fish for the good of the people of Uganda, the tourists and the future generation.
Ms Kamasanyu further explained that the convicts deserved a punishment that would deter other would-be offenders from carrying out illegal fishing activities.
“The court finds the punishment of a fine of Shs500,000 on the charge of using authorised nets and Shs200,000 on the charge of fishing without a valid license appropriate, as the convicts’ actions deprived Uganda of revenue and led to fish reduction” Ms Kamasanyu ruled.
“On default the convicts will serve a custodial sentence of one year in Luzira prison,” the magistrate added.
Earlier on the group asked Court for lenience saying they have families and dependents to look after back home in Kenya.
The group also apologised to court, the government of Uganda and the legal fishing authority, pledging to carry out their activities in a proper legal manner.
“We pray that our captured engines and boats are given back to us so that we can go and do our work legally,” the group cried out in court.
However, prosecution led by Mr Allan Mucunguzi, had asked court to hand them a deterrent and custodial sentence, arguing that many Kenyans have come onto the Ugandan waters on Lake Victoria and continued to use mosquito nets which are not authorised to do fishing, to carry out their illegal activities.
The forty men were facing two counts of possession of prohibited fishnets country to section 28 and 33 of the fishing Act Cap 197 as amended by the fish Amendment Act of 2011 and fishing without a license contrary to rule 12(1)(2) of the Fish Rules No.33/2010.