NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

A BOTSWANA national on Saturday pleaded guilty to contravening sections of the Parks and Wildlife Management Act after he was found in possession of 35kg of ivory tusks valued at $51 000.

 

Moikhothai Molathegi, of Chief Mazinga, in Kuwe village, Botswana, pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Barbara Mateko who remanded him in custody for sentencing today.

Molathegi was jointly charged with Mathew Matuso (70) and Mathew Kaisisi (43), both from Epworth who pleaded not guilty to the charges.

While pleading guilty, Molathegi said he came to Zimbabwe to sell the tusks after being told by a woman he did not name that the tusks fetch a lot of money in Zimbabwe, compared to his home country.

Allegations are that on July 30 at around 2pm, detectives from CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit received a tip-off that Molathegi, Matusu and Kusasa were in possession of ivory.

The detectives proceeded to Matuso’s house in Epworth and when they arrived, they saw Molathegi and Kaisisi holding a sack.

It is alleged that the detectives identified themselves and explained the purpose of their visit before searching the sack and found five elephant tusks.

The State alleges that police also searched the residence, but did not discover anything. Police asked the trio to produce documents authorising them to possess elephant tusks, but they allegedly failed, leading to their arrest.
The State alleges that the tusks can be produced as an exhibit.

Francisca Mukumbiri appeared for the State.