SIX poachers charged with illegal possession of ivory worth US$9 250 have been slapped with a nine-year jail term each by a Matabeleland North Provincial magistrate.
BY SILAS NKALA
Austin Sibanda (54) of Dete; Morris Munkombwe (39) of Hwange; Shingai Sithole (33) of Dete; Kemesi Shoko (39), Hwange; Tariro Mateyaunga (26), Hwange; and Phenias Ncube (39), Hwange, who were represented by Thulani Nkala had pleaded not guilty to the charge when they appeared before Livard Philemon sitting at the Hwange Magistrate Court.
However, on Friday last week at the close of the State case, the magistrate convicted them.
Prosecutor Vumizulu Mangena told the court that on November 24 last year at 2pm, detective Inspector Rusinga received information that the six were in possession of ivory at Dete and intended to sell it.
Rusinga and a reaction team went to the area pretending to be trophy dealers. On their way they picked Munkombwe, Shoko, Mateyaunga and Ncube. They arrived at Cross Dete at around 10pm where arrangements were made to pick up the ivory and bring it to the rendezvous. Detective Constable Mandina and his colleagues intercepted the vehicle that was bringing the ivory at the drop off point and demanded to search it.
They found two pieces of ivory which weighed 37kg and were valued at US$9 250.