BY RICHARD MUPONDE
BINGA businessman, Taurai Marava, who has had a long-standing legal battle with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) over fishing rigs, has been jailed for four months for fishing in Lake Kariba without a permit.
This comes a month after Marava had taken Zimparks to the High Court, demanding damages of over $210 000 for his impounded fishing rigs.
Justice Maxwell Takuva ruled in his favour.
But when Zimparks laid criminal charges, Marava was convicted.
Marava (46) and two of his rig captains, Dumezweni Munenge (31) and Davie Chagwambala (37) of Zewula village, Chief Siabuwa in Binga and Dumbula village, Chief Mola in Kariba, respectively, pleaded not guilty to the offence, but were convicted by Binga magistrate, Talent Phiri.
Marava was sentenced to six months in prison of which two months were conditionally suspended on condition of good behaviour.
In addition, his two rigs were forfeited to the State.
His employees were each fined $100 or four months in prison, but they were given up to June 7 to pay the fines.
Marava denied the allegations saying his rigs were lawfully in the waters because Zimparks offered him permits and issued him with an invoice to which he made a part payment of $400.
He said he had an invoice as an acknowledgement of a list of goods sent or services provided, with a statement of the sum due, which constituted as a bill from Zimparks that gave him the right to fish as he waited to collect the two permits after paying the full amount.
“I do have two permits as indicated by the invoice, where I did part payment of $400,” Marava said in his defence.
Prosecutor, Bruce Maphosa said on April 8 Munenge and Chagwambala, who are employed by Marava as rig captains, were fishing for kapenta at Lokola Sand Beach area on Lake Kariba.
Zimparks rangers Absalom Matuka, Philani Dladla and Ismael Phiri, who were on patrol, intercepted the pair’s fishing rigs KF2944 and KF3026.
The rangers after discovering that the convicts had no fishing permits, they arrested them.
The pair had 45,5kg of semi-dried kapenta and 15,7kg of dried kapenta worth $916,50. The two rigs were impounded and fishing nets removed.