By Victor Maphosa
Three Harare men appeared in court on Monday after they were found in possession of six elephant tusks worth $5 815 in Chitungwiza over the weekend.
Collen Dick (49), Alwisi Paundi (32) and Christopher Chapata (41) appeared before Harare magistrate Annie Ndiraya charged with contravening Section 45(1) of the Parks and Wildlife Act Chapter 20:14, which criminalises possession of unmarked raw ivory.
The trio was remanded in custody to next Tuesday. The prosecutor, Rufaro Chatora, alleged that on November 2 this year, detectives from the Minerals and Border Control Unit were tipped off that the three were in possession of six elephant tusks and were looking for a buyer at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
The detectives followed up on the tip-off and managed to identify two of the accused — Dick and Paundi. They trailed them to a house in St Mary’s where the duo’s colleague was waiting for them.
Further allegations are that as Paundi and Dick were seated on the verandah, detectives approached them and identified themselves and requested to search the house for elephant tusks, and the trio complied.
They led the detectives inside one of the bedrooms, where they recovered six elephant tusks which were hidden under the bed. The court heard that the accused told detectives that they got the tusks from the Chundu area in Hurungwe and they were looking for buyers.
The court further heard that detectives asked for a licence enabling them to trade in unmarked raw ivory, but they failed to produce one. The tusks, which weighed a combined 34,2 kilogrammes, were taken to the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management. The Herald