Poaching saga: Cops denied bail

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BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese has denied bail to a police boss and his three subordinates who allegedly received a $10 000 bribe from poachers suspected to have recently poisoned to death over 100 elephants in the Hwange National Park.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Makonese upheld the October 10 ruling by Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove denying Detective Assistant Inspector Alois Gakata, Detective Sergeant Wellington Jena, Detective Constables Shadreck Rore and Ronald Dube bail saying they were a flight risk considering the magnitude of the case.

The four cops had appealed to the High Court through their lawyer Charles Mutsahuni Chikore arguing that there was no basis for her finding that they were likely to abscond if granted bail.

However, Makonese concurred with the findings of the lower court.

“I am of the firm view that the facts placed before the learned magistrate contained sufficient detail and the court did not err in concluding that the interests of justice were likely to be compromised if the appellants were released on bail . . . I, therefore, cannot find any basis for overturning the decision of the magistrate denying appellants bail pending trial,” read part of Makonese’s ruling.

“The grounds of appeal as set out by the appellants in this matter do not have merit. The appellants are clearly not suitable candidates for bail. If granted bail, the proper administration of justice could be compromised. The learned magistrate’s decision cannot be assailed. In the result, the appeal is hereby dismissed.”

The detectives allegedly received a $10 000 bribe from poachers accused of poisoning the elephants to release a Toyota Hilux which they had intercepted in Harare carrying a consignment of ivory.

The detectives were exposed by Clever Khumalo (44) and Sipho Mafu (54) who were charged with delivering, or offering toxic substances and also illegally possessing ivory in contravention of the Parks and Wildlife Act and the Environmental Management Act respectively.

1 COMMENT

  1. The conduct of the court on the Elephant poisoning police gang is to be commended. Both the magistrate and the Judge are spot on. These policemen know who poisoned the elephants. It is unfortunate that their actions have led to some people in Tsholotsho suffering. What is frightening is the scale of the offense. it is unbelievable that a whole community can gang up to poison places which can affect cattle and human beings.

    All the media in this instance deserve praise, especially the Eye. Well done the Eye. The eye is right to question why the police left their job to Chief Siphoso. Siphoso now claims that the villagers clandestinely left the Cyanide on a path next to his home and therefore does not know from whom it is from. Chief, please know that Zimbabwean people everywhere are angry about what has happened to their elephants. Zimbabwean still have their culture. A culture which demands respects of anything, including snakes. Why do you think that people are not allowed to kill certain snakes even if you find it under your bed? You pour sorghum, and it goes away. Why is it, that even in rural areas you cannot wantonly cut trees? Let alone animals. You cannot just kill any animal. Female animals are especially protected. You are not praised for killing even a female duiker, why? During Lobengula’s time you could not just kill an elephant without permission from the King himself. Today there are even more stringent laws. But the government of Zimbabwe has been most generous. Those with land near national parks have been allowed to benefit from game. Many have hunting concession. The people of Tsholotsho are not the only ones who suffer from elephants. The whole of Lupane, Binga and Hwange is facing this problems. Ask people of Lupanda about elephants! Poising elephants is unheard of.
    Now may I propose an idea from Kenya.
    1. Stop these small scale concessions especially near the affected areas.
    2. Instead compensate those whose crops have been destroyed from properly utilized qoutas managed as before by Campfire.
    3. Campfire should be strengthened rather than broken down.
    4. The rural Councils must do their work, it is their responsibility to look after animals together with National parks.
    5. Siphoso must say who among his people had cyanide, even if it is for records only. Otherwise arrest the man. If senior policemen can be arrested, in Zimbabwe we arrest any one who breaks the law.

    Sigodo phenduka

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