Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) chairperson, Enias Tichafa Mundangepfupfu told the court yesterday that former director-general, Edson Chidziya had a case to answer in a matter where he was accused of concealing an audit showing missing 56 rhino horns.
While testifying in court before regional magistrate, Elijah Makomo, Mundangepfupfu said Chidziya intentionally failed to order an audit of rhino horns as was customary.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
“There was no stock take and audit showing the statistics of the rhino horns. The keys to the strong room were exchanged without a proper handover and takeover,” Mundangepfupfu said.
He further told court that after receiving the audit report showing the missing 56 horns Chidziya never reported the matter to the board or to the permanent secretary.
“When asked by the board why he did not report the matter, Chidziya told us that he wanted to get a second opinion to authenticate the quantities of the horns before making a report,” Mundangepfupfu said.
In his defence, Chidziya accused the State of inflating the value of the 56 rhino horns to sensationalise the issue. But Mundangepfupfu told court that as the rhino horns are prohibited by the Convention on Trade In Endangered Species of 1990 to be sold on any open market it was difficult to come up with a market value for stolen rhino horns. He said the South East Asia illegal market was selling rhino horns for $60 000 per kilogramme.
Makomo postponed the trial to tomorrow for continuation.
Chidziya, together with ZimParks wildlife officer, Padgewell Mazoyo (37), audit manager, Gift Kuwora (51) and former security officer, Munyaradzi Nhira (32) and are being charged with theft of trust property.