Three men accused of using Local Government deputy minister Sessel Zvidzai’s vehicle in rhino poaching early this year, were yesterday sentenced to 17 years imprisonment after being convicted of killing one of the endangered species at a farm in Macheke.
In passing sentence, regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya lambasted Zivanai Masvaire (37), Charles Dowerowe (37) and Shepherd Naite (27) for plundering national resources.
“You three, in the company of your other colleagues who are still at large, were selfish. You decided to plunder the national resource and export horns to South Africa at the expense of the nation,” Mujaya said.
Masvaire and Dowerowe will, however, serve an effective nine years in jail each while Naite will complete seven years after two years were suspended from their respective sentences on condition they would not contravene any section of the Wildlife Act.
The three were also thrown a lifeline after the magistrate ruled that a further three-year jail term would run concurrently for each of the accused persons.
Besides an effective prison term, the trio was also ordered to pay Eldorado Farm owner — where the rhino was killed — a whopping
$20 000 in compensation.
Prosecutor Michael Reza submitted on December 31 last year, the trio and three other suspected accomplices who are still at large hatched
a plan to kill the animal at Eldorado Farm in Macheke. Masvaire directed his accomplices into the farm where they killed a male rhinoceros and dehorned it leaving four females.
The trio was arrested while trying to smuggle horns weighing 8,2kg valued at $120 000 to South Africa, after buying tickets at Road Port in Harare. On their initial appearance early this year, Reza submitted that the trio was likely going to face murder charges emanating from the death of a game ranger who was shot dead at the same farm.