Eleven people, who include nine employees at a Chinese factory, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts facing allegations of contravening sections of Parks and Wildlife Management Act and fraud after they were allegedly found selling polished ivory, with fake parks reference numbers.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The 11 suspects appeared before magistrate Learnmore Mapiye, who remanded them in custody to December 21, pending finalisation of investigations.
It is the State’s case that on December 2 this year, one of the accused, Robert Shonhiwa called the informant, only identified as Henry and informed him that he had 200kg of polished elephant tusks, which he was selling for $90 per kilogramme.
The State alleges the next day Shonhiwa met Henry at Extreme Service Station opposite Gulf Shopping Complex. Shonhiwa got into Henry’s vehicle and directed him to Zanu PF headquarters, where they were going to meet one Titus Mazambani whom Shonhiwa indicated was in possession of the ivory.
It is alleged while parked outside Zanu PF headquarters, Shonhiwa called one David Madzinga and Raymond Mutinha, who later showed up and joined them. Mazambani allegedly directed Henry to Karigamombe Centre, where they would meet Noah Manyanye and Pettymore Munodawafa.
The State alleges Mazambani, Madzinga, Mutinha and Munodawafa then directed the informant to the light industries at Duandong Trade Centre, leaving behind Shonhiwa.
While at Duandong, the five suspects had a short meeting with the informant and agreed on a price of $90 per polished kilogramme.
The informant was then led by the accused persons to a warehouse where they met other accused persons carrying elephant tusks and placing them on a table.
The informant examined the tusks and was satisfied that they were real and genuine, and advised the suspects that he was organising the money and left the place in the company of Mazambani, whom he dropped at Zanu PF headquarters.
The informant then alerted detectives. The informant later returned to Duandong and was given a paper by Madzinga indicating weights. Police swiftly reacted to the information, leading to the arrest of the accused persons and recovery of the six marked ivory pieces.
The six elephant tusks were valued at $8 160.
Delight Mauto appeared for the State.