LUPANE — Tafadzwa Tabengwa, the owner of a truck recently impounded by the Forestry Commision over a timber-poaching incident, has been convicted of contravening the Forestry Management Act.
Two weeks ago, Lupane magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba sentenced two of the eight timber poachers to 10 months in prison while the other six were each fined $250 in connection with poaching of 10 tonnes of timber from the Gwayi Forestry Area.
Tabengwa was on Tuesday convicted of complicity in the case while the court issued a warrant of arrest for his driver, Ownsome Masokora, after the latter absconded from court.
Tabengwa will be sentenced today. His other employee, Gift Madzonyonge, was acquitted.
The State applied for the court to invoke Section 62 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07 to allow for the forfeiture of the vehicle used in committing a crime, but Tabengwa pleaded for lenience, saying he had not yet finished paying for the vehicle.
On October 8, Madzonyonge and Masokora connived with eight timber poachers at Lihlo village in Gwayi Forestry Area to ferry the loot.
They drove Tabengwa’s truck — registration number ABT 7822 — to Gwayi Forestry Area where mukwa timber worth $1 000 was loaded.
Before they left the scene, a whistleblower alerted Forestry Commission security officers about the offence, leading to the suspects’ arrest.
The matter was referred to police who immediately impounded the truck to expedite investigations.
Tabengwa was arrested when he visited the police station to inquire about his truck.
Sanders Sibanda prosecuted.