Trio jailed 27 years over python skin


THREE Harare men were yesterday slapped with a combined 27-year jail term after being convicted of possessing a python skin, which carries a nine-year mandatory jail term.


Happison Manjoro (42), Albert Kachomba (46) and Michael Dias Maira (48) were found guilty of contravening a section of the Parks and Wildlife Act by magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta.

After failing to find any extenuating circumstances, they were slapped with a nine-year jail term each which they will effectively serve without suspension.

Circumstances leading to the commission of the offence were that on August 26 this year, detectives from the Minerals and Border Control Unit received information that the three were in possession of a python skin which they intended to sell at the National Art Gallery in the capital.

The court heard one of the detectives, Masasa, purported to be the buyer and was constantly in communication with Kachomba who asked them to come to the National Art Gallery along Julius Nyerere Way.

Masasa proceeded to the scene whereupon arrival Kachomba introduced his two accomplices to the officers. The court heard Manjoro then opened the satchel to show Masasa the python skin and at that juncture Masasa signalled his colleagues, leading to the men’s arrest.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, a Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison inmate, Tawanda Chikonyora, who was assisted by a senior warden to escape from lawful custody, was yesterday sentenced to four years’ imprisonment by Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba.

Chikonyora will, however, serve a three-year effective jail term after one year was suspended on condition of good behaviour. In passing the sentence, Mashamba said Chikonyora committed a serious offence which could easily have attracted a seven-year imprisonment term had he violently escaped from lawful custody.

Prior to his escape, Chikonyora was serving a three- year jail term for theft and had only been left with 39 days to complete his sentence.