Friday, October 4, 2013

Cyanide dealer who supplied Hwange elephant poachers freed on $100 bail

The manager of a Harare-based company that is alleged to have supplied sodium cyanide to a poaching syndicate that poisoned and killed more than 90 elephants and other wild animals at Hwange National Park, Elvis Ncube, yesterday appeared in court. Ncube (30) of number 11 Frederick Booth Road, Hillside in Harare, a human resources manager for Servcor Zimbabwe Private Limited Company situated at Number 47 Plymouth Road, Southerton, was not asked to plead when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushove. He is facing charges of contravening Section 137(1)(g)(2) of the Environmental Management Act, Chapter 20:27, which prohibits storage of hazardous substances at unlicensed premises. Ncube was remanded out of custody to 16 October on $100 bail. As part of his bail conditions, Ncube was ordered to report once every week on Fridays at Cranborne Police Station in Harare, to reside at his given address and not to interfere with witnesses.Allegations against Ncube are that between October and November last year, he allegedly acquired three tonnes of sodium cyanide and stored it at his place of residence. He allegedly sold the chemical to different unnamed individuals including the poaching syndicate who were not licensed to deal in cyanide, a classified hazardous chemical in terms of the country’s laws.Seven members of the poaching syndicate that used the cyanide have since been arrested and separately appeared in court facing charges of poisoning the elephants and other wild animals at Hwange National Park. Two of them, Clever Khumalo (44) and Sipho Mafu (54) recently told the court that they had been operating for the past five years.The two are being charged with delivering, or offering toxic substances and also illegally possessing ivory and were remanded in custody to Tuesday. Mafu and his brother Misheck and Farai Chitsa are also set to appear in court tomorrow in another case of hunting without authority and violating the EMA Act.Three of the poachers – Robert Maposa (42), Thabani Zondo (24) and Dedani Tshuma (25) were last week sentenced to 16 years in prison each for illegal possession of ivory and contravening Section 73 (1) of EMA Act. Maposa and Zondo were further ordered to pay $600 000 restitution to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority by 31 December 2013 and Tshuma was also ordered to pay $200 000 restitution by the same date. Ms Caroline Matanga is representing the State. Source: Chronicle

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