Cop, poachers face fate today

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A FORMER policeman, who is believed to be behind the poisoning of 23 elephants at Ngamo Safaris together with his four accomplices, will know his fate today when Hwange magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa passes sentence.

SENIOR COURT REPORTER

The former cop William Ncube (53), Sikhumbuzo Sibindi, Mkhululi Ncube, Johannes Munkombwe and Elvis Nkomo, all from Lupane, were convicted on their own pleas of guilty to poaching.

Munkombwe and Mkhululi were convicted of killing 20 elephants and being found in possession of 17 tusks.

The ex-cop and Sibindi were convicted of discharging a hazardous substance (cyanide) leading to the death of two elephants even though they did not remove the tusks.

They will be sentenced after the former policeman’s lawyer Elvis Mashindi mitigates on his behalf.

However, Ncube is also facing a separate charge in which he is alleged to have poisoned an elephant and taken its tucks in August 2012.

Ncube, who was implicated as the mastermind of the deal and supplier of the cyanide, said he got the hazardous substance from an unnamed prison officer in Plumtree.

Charges against the five are that they made a cyanide solution which they put into buckets and placed in the forestry area close to the elephants’ watering holes.

The five were arrested after Ngamo Safaris guards received a tip-off that they were always seen carrying buckets into the forestry.

The guards apprehended Mkhululi and Munkombwe, who then implicated the former policeman.

The total value of the elephant tusks  was pegged at $1 250 000 while 10kg of cyanide was recovered.