Ex-policeman, accomplices get total of 24 years in jail for elephant poisoning
A former Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officer, who connived with four villagers and poisoned to death 23 elephants using cyanide was Monday sentenced to four years in prison for disposing hazardous substances and illegal possession of ivory, by a court in the northern town of Hwange
However, magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa remanded William Ncube, 53, to a later date on another case of illegal possession of ivory where he is being charged without two of his accomplices because he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Accomplices Sikhumbuzo Sibindi, of Fatima Village and Elvis Nkomo of Bhangale Village all from Chief Mabhikwa in Lupane who were also slapped with four-year prison sentences each for violating sections of the Environmental Management Act.
Two other accomplices who pleaded guilty to illegal possession of ivory, Mkhululi Ncube, 36, and Johannes Munkombwe, 29, were each slapped with 10 year prison sentences for committing the offence.
The two were further slapped with four years each for violating the EMA Act and were also ordered to pay the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority $850,000 compensation for the 20 elephants they killed.
The poisoning took place between August last year and last month at Ngamo Forest and the elephants they killed together with the tusks were valued at $1,1 million. Ncube was implicated by his accomplices as the supplier of the cyanide.
On the other hand, Ncube told police investigators that he was introduced into the act by some people some of them in Government departments.
The five mixed cyanide with water and put it in buckets which they deposited in the bush where the elephants drank.
In August last year Ncube took out two tusks of elephants and in September this year he killed three jumbos using water laced with cyanide. He went on to kill two more elephants last month in connivance with Sibindi and Nkomo.
Mkhululi Ncube and Munkombwa received an undisclosed quantity of cyanide from Ncube and using the same modus operandi, killed 20 elephants and took away 34 tusks.
About 5.67 kgs of cyanide was recovered at Munkombwa's homestead while 4kgs was recovered at Ncube's homestead buried in a kraal.
Sibindi, Nkomo, Mkhululi Ncube and Munkombwa said Ncube had promised them money.
A statement by an official from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority which is included in the record showed that a total of 149 jumbos have been poisoned and killed by poachers from February this year to date.