New Zimbabwe

Grace Mugabe ivory case postponed as exhibits under lock and key

 

THE trial of two suspected ivory poaching kingpins who allegedly worked under the instructions of former First Lady Grace Mugabe failed to kick off on Thursday after the state indicated that exhibits were locked up.

Prosecutor, Francesca Mukumbiri, told court that the person who keeps the keys was not available.

In addition, the state has also not availed documents requested by the defence lawyers, further stalling progress.

The accused are Fanken Madzinga, 48, a registered dealer of ivory manufacturing and his driver Tafadzwa Pamire. They are answering to charges of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act.

Through their lawyers, the two asked for several documents they require in crafting their defence.

These include the informant’s work permit and telephone print outs among other documents.

The informant is a Polish photo journalist who was doing an investigative story which he picked in China.

Madzinga and his accomplice were arrested after the police received a tip off to the effect that the two were part of an ivory poaching syndicate.

The journalist then masqueraded as a buyer before nailing the two.

There are also reports that the two disclosed that Grace was part of the syndicate after they were convinced the informer would buy lots of ivory from them.

This, however, has not been disclosed in court papers.

According to the papers, the tip off was received on February 14 this year.

Court heard the informer told the police that he had managed to entice the two to sell him the ivory after posing as a potential buyer.

He told the police that he was going to meet the suspects in central Harare for the purposes of making transactions.

A team of detectives was then set up in order to arrest the two.

It is alleged that a trap was set and the two were arrested in Highfields where they were caught transferring ivory from their vehicle to the informant’s car.

According to court papers, the ivory is valued at $22 797.