Top civil servant released over fake rhino horn

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A Mines Ministry human resources director, Hamandishe Chinyengetere, almost landed himself in trouble after police reportedly recovered what looked like a rhino horn in his vehicle last Friday.

It however later turned out unidentified con-artists had reportedly sold a cow horn disguised as a prized rhino horn to the top civil servant, after misrepresenting to him that it was genuine.

Harare police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau confirmed the incident, adding Chinyengetere was arrested last Friday for possession of a rhino horn, but was later released on Saturday after the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority certified the supposed horn was indeed a cow horn.

I can confirm that he was arrested, but the following day he was released upon realisation that it was a cow horn. We had to ask the Parks and Wildlife people to come and identify if it was a rhino horn and they confirmed it was a cow horn, resulting in Chinyengetere not being charged for any offence, said Sabau.

Parks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the authority was battling to contain a surge in poaching of rhino and elephants, among other endangered species.

Last year alone 23 rhino horns were found in possession of poachers. Right now three people are in court for possession of rhino horns, she said.