By Leonard Ncube
The trial of former Victoria Falls Mayor Sifiso Mpofu and his co-accused failed to kick-off last Wednesday as one of the prosecutors who are supposed to handle the matter was not available.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) seconded Hwange-based prosecutor Mrs Charlene Gorerino to partner Mr Onias Nyathi who is based in Victoria Falls for the trial.
Mrs Gorerino is recovering at home following an accident which killed a prosecutor and court administrator when a vehicle they were travelling in burst a tyre and overturned last week.
Magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa postponed the trial to June 4 when Mrs Gorerino is expected to have recovered.
Mpofu (42), Milton Sibindi (47) and Patrick Sibanda (49) all of Mkhosana suburb are facing charges of possessing 11 elephant tusks.
The trio is out on $500 bail coupled with stringent conditions which include reporting at Victoria Falls Police Station twice a week, residing at their given addresses, not interfering with witnesses and surrendering title deeds and travelling documents as surety.
Allegations are that the three were arrested when a patrolling anti-poaching team raided the former mayor’s house in Mkhosana suburb on March 7.
Prosecutors allege that 11 elephant tusks were recovered.
“On 7 March 2018, a team comprising police and Zimparks rangers were on an anti-poaching patrol in Mkhosana when they observed a white Toyota Harrier parked in front of the gate at House Number 5449. Upon seeing the team the driver sped off,” said Mr Nyathi.
The anti-poaching team later saw the three accused persons carrying three elephants tusks walking towards the gate.
The three dropped the ivory and started running away prompting the officers to fire a warning shot into the air, the court heard.
Mpofu, Sibindi and Sibanda were then arrested. Two more tusks were recovered from Mpofu’s bedroom.
The 11 tusks were taken to Victoria Falls Police Station. Their weight and value has not been given in court.
Mr Thulani Nkala of Dube and Nkala Legal Practitioners is representing the three accused. The Chronicle