BY NOTHANDO DUBE
Two Hwange men, who were allegedly found in possession of elephant tusks near a supermarket in the coal mining town in Matabeleland North, will go on trial on June 27 for possession of ivory without a permit.
Jimstone Regiment (30) and Brighton Sangumbwa (32) from Imgagula suburb were arrested on April 22 after they were allegedly found with three pieces of ivory that were stashed in the Toyata Gaia vehicle outside an OK supermarket.
On Friday, Regiment and Sangumbwa pleaded not guilty to the charges when they appeared before magistrate Tomupei Zhou, who set their trial date for this month end.
Prosecutor Jamesina Makanza said on April 22, detectives from police’s Criminal Investigations Department received information that people who were in a Toyota Gaia registration number ABP 0075 parked outside the OK supermarket in Hwange had elephant tusks in their possession.
Makanza said at around 10PM, a team comprising Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and police officers was dispatched to conduct surveillance activities in the area.
“When they arrived they found the car matching the description was found parked at the OK Supermarket open space and the team approached the motor vehicle and introduced themselves to the occupants,” he said.
“Regiment was found holding one piece of ivory in his hand with a blue satchel between his legs while Sangumbwa was seated on the driver’s seat.
“A search was conducted by police officers in the motor vehicle, leading to the recovery of two pieces of ivory beside the accused one in the backseat covered with a blue cloth.
“The accused persons were each asked to produce a permit authorising them to possess ivory and they both failed to produce one leading to their arrest.”
The three pieces of ivory weighed 2.295 kilogrammes and were valued at US$390.
Sangumbwa and Regiment were remanded in custody.