Former Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management (ZimParks) director-general, Edson Chidziya has accused the State of inflating the value of the missing 56 rhinoceros horns and adopting an unfair prosecution strategy.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Chidziya, who pled not guilty to criminal abuse of office allegations, appeared before magistrate, Elijah Makomo on trial.
The former director-general is also accused of concealing the audit report from his principal.
In his defence, Chidziya said there was no way he could have concealed the audit report, as the internal audit team had submitted the report to both him and his principal.
“The report was submitted to the chairperson of the board, the permanent secretary, the chairperson of the Legal, Audit and Risk Committee and the main finding was that 56 rhino horns were missing,” he submitted.
Chidziya said he had been receiving reports of missing rhino horns from time to time and he did everything in his power to deal with the issue.
He said he also directed that the missing rhino horns be reported to the police.
Makomo postponed the matter to March 5 for continuation of trial.
Chidziya is being charged together with his subordinates, ZimParks wildlife officer, Padgewell Mazoyo (37), audit manager, Gift Kuwora (51) and former security officer, Munyaradzi Nhira (32). They are being charged with theft of trust property.
Allegations are that between September 2012 and May 1, 2013, Chidziya was appointed the director-general and became the accounting officer, with the sole responsibility of reporting to the board.
He was also responsible for the smooth running of ZimParks. It is the State’s case that during his tenure, Chidziya caused the breach of security procedures of game products under his care.
The State alleges that between December 2012 and July 2015, Chidziya gave orders to Mazoyo, Kuwora and Nhira to exchange keys to the ivory strong room.
It is alleged that this was done without a proper handover and takeover procedure, by-passing the standard laid out security procedure and his action allegedly led to 56 rhino horns being stolen.
The theft was allegedly discovered during an audit carried out in July 2015 and it is alleged Chidziya, as the accounting officer, was handed the audit report but did not report the matter to the police.