Suspected ivory poachers in court


CHINHOYI Two suspected ivory dealers were on Wednesday arraigned before the courts following their arrest on allegations of possessing two elephant tusks weighing 16kg and valued at $4 000.

The accused Ruston Unganai (36) of Village 8, Chief Chundu in Karoi, and Sandra Mlilo of Mufakose in Harare appeared before magistrate Sam Chitumwa facing charges of contravening the Wildlife and Firearms Acts.

The State case is that on March 3, a team of police detectives from the Border Control and Minerals Unit and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officers were on patrol in the Chundu area, Karoi, when they received a tip-off that Unganai was in possession of ivory and an unlicensed 303 rifle.

Acting on the information, the team proceeded to Unganais home where they identified themselves before conducting a search, the court heard.

It is alleged Unganai went to his bedroom and voluntarily took the rifle, serial number 33C0001, with an empty magazine and surrendered it to the officers.

He allegedly further indicated he was in possession of two elephant tusks, which were later recovered from a shallow ditch covered with grass. He also produced an elephants tail hidden in one of his thatched huts.

The court also heard Unganai implicated Mlilo as the supplier of the firearm with a magazine charged with four live rounds for the purpose of hunting down and killing an elephant along Chitake River and removing its tusks on February 28 this year.

On March 4, the court was told Unganai led the team to the scene where he showed them the decomposing carcass. Unganai was remanded in custody while Mlilo was granted $100 bail to March 23.

Vote Zishiri prosecuted.