Jailed pangolin dealer seeks reprieve


A 27-YEAR-OLD Gokwe man will rue the day he laid his hands on a pangolin after he was slapped with a mandatory nine-year jail term for contravening section 45 of the Wildlife Act, which criminalises selling of specially protected animals.


The pangolin weighed 11,4kg and was valued at $5 000, according to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) officials.

Adorn Mutaurwa, however, has since filed an application at the High Court for bail pending appeal against both conviction and sentence, arguing the magistrate misdirected himself when he found him guilty and slapped him with the mandatory jail term after relying on the evidence of a single witness.

Through his lawyers, Mutaurwa said: “It is submitted that the said (witness) Mwaseba Cosamu was the only State witness upon which the entire State case was hinged. Cosamu had an objective to achieve. He was an official from ZimParks, who had travelled all the way to Gokwe in order to facilitate and secure the arrest of the appellant (Mutaurwa) in connection with offences involving a pangolin.

“He was not, therefore, an independent witness in this particular matter. The appellant stands convicted of selling a pangolin and the evidence relating to the alleged bargaining and negotiation of the purchase price was all based on the mere say-so of this single and biased State witness with nothing to corroborate his version of the story.”

Allegations against Mutaurwa were that on January 4 this year, police received a tip-off he was selling a live pangolin without a permit.

Acting on the information, a crack team comprising members of the Minerals and Border Control Unit and ZimParks officials was formed and tasked to make a follow-up.

The court heard, a Detective Sergeant Kamusi and Cosamu posed as buyers and communicated with Mutaurwa, who advised them to meet him in Chegutu.

At the meeting, Mutaurwa is alleged to have said he was selling a live pangolin for $1 000 and he led the purported buyers to Madhamu Business Centre, where the animal was being kept.

The court heard Mutaurwa later instructed Never Godhi and Collen Makaingana, who were keeping the live pangolin, to bring it to him, leading to his arrest.


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  2. These are some of the laws that need to be re visited.Mostly these pangolins are not hunted but one may just come across them in the forest,so to give someone a mandatory sentence of 9 years is injustice of the highest order.Whats so special about a pangolin anyway?Who exactly has benefited from these pangolins?So if a person does not declare a pangolin to national parks,he or she is worse than an armed robber,a rapist or common thieves?

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