BY SILAS NKALA
A MAN from Lusulu village in Binga has been arrested for illegal possession of 174 pangolin scales, weighing 2,525kg and a .306 rifle.
Killion Siacho (35), a suspected poacher, pleaded not guilty to the charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and pangolin scales when he appeared on Monday before Hwange magistrate
Livard Philemon. He was remanded out of custody to June 10 for continuation of trial.
The court heard that on February 22 this year, at 6:30am, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers and detectives from the Minerals, Flora and Founa Unit were on routine
patrol in Lusulu, where they received information that Siacho was in possession of a rifle and ammunition.
They investigated the matter and when they approached Siacho, he produced the rifle serial number 18103. He also produced four rounds of ammunition for the same gun and one spent
cartridge, but failed to produce a firearm certificate, leading to his arrest. The firearm was confiscated.
On the same day, the team searched Siacho’s home and recovered 174 pangolin scales.
Through his lawyer, Thulani Nkala, Siacho denied the charges. He said on February 21 this year, he met Elikhana Ndlovu and Chipo Mudenda at Lusulu Business Centre as per their request.
“At around 6pm, three men one Mudimba, Lunga and another man arrived at the business centre driving a white Toyota Harrier. Mudimba was introduced as Elikhana’s young brother.
“Elikhana, who he knows as a vendor of clothes with whom he had bartered chicken for clothing and had established rapport stated that they wanted to collect something at Chishidya and that they will drop him at his home on their way from Chishidya,” the lawyer submitted.
He said Siacho and the four others went to Chishidya and on their way they stopped the car and Elikhana and the driver disembarked and went up a hill and returned with another 10 men,
some of them carrying rifles.
According to Siacho, the men claimed they had ivory and had escaped arrest.
He said they demanded a gun from him and he told them he knew nothing about the rifle they were talking about before they handcuffed him.
Siacho said they told him that they wanted to go with him to his home to conduct a search.
The lawyer submitted that when they arrived at Siacho’s home they searched and found nothing.
He said the men later claimed that one of the firearms they had and pangolin scales were found at Siacho’s place.