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State withdraws charges against crocodile farmers

Local News
crocodiles

TWO CROCODILE farmers who were wrongfully arrested by the police and had their 52 crocodile skins confiscated have recovered their merchandise after the State withdrew charges against them.

Vimbai Dzingirai (31) and Duncan Andrew Wardly (99) were arrested and charged with contravening sections of the Parks and Wildlife Act.

The police then confiscated their crocodile skins without a search warrant, accusing the pair of not having a licence for the skins.

The State, however, withdrew the charges before plea after the duo submitted its permit before magistrate Tafadzwa Miti.

Dzingirai later sued Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, National Prosecuting Authority, clerk of court, officer commanding minerals and one Detective Assistant Inspector Mufara in a bid to recover the crocodile skins.

In her application, Dzingirai said the confiscation of the skins was an attempt to unlawfully deprive her of the skins despite being a crocodile breeder authorised by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

"On 26 March 2022, while I was at my place of residence in Mabelreign, Harare, I was visited by persons who identified themselves as Detective Constable Gonzo and Detective Constable Chiriparanyanga. They identified themselves as members of the Criminal Investigations Department from Hatfield and said they had come to search and seize certain items from my premises.

“I resisted this move as they did not have a search warrant. They maintained that they would not leave my premises before they seized the items they suspected I was in possession of for criminal activities,” she said.

“They even went as far as suggesting that one of them could sleep inside my house in order to ensure that these items do not disappear. I was taken aback by the conduct of these officers and I immediately (contacted) Police General Headquarters. To my utter dismay and surprise, I was advised that there was nothing called CID Hatfield. Police General Headquarters then directed me to CID Marlborough for any assistance that I may need.”

“The magistrate, who withdrew the charges against me was approached and she indicated that the crocodile skins were not exhibited formally before the court, therefore, she could not make an order concerning the crocodile skins,” she said.

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