Two members of a poaching syndicate that killed at least 87 elephants at Hwange National Park by poisoning water sources with cyanide have been poaching since 2008, and police officers simply took bribes and let them get away with it, a court heard on Thursday.
Clever Khumalo, 44, of Iminyela suburb in Bulawayo and Sipho Mafu, 54, of Pelandaba in Tsholotsho were not formally charged when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove.
They were remanded in custody to October 8. A third suspect, Sanelisiwe Dube, of Nkulumane 12 is still on the run. In their recorded police statements, Khumalo and Mafu also implicated several other people.
Khumalo and Mafu’s court appearance followed the conviction and sentencing of three other poachers – Robert Maposa, 42, Thabani Zondo, 24, and Dedani Tshuma, 25, – on Wednesday.
The trio were jailed for 16 years each for illegal possession of ivory and delivering toxic substances. They were further ordered to pay US$600,000 restitution to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority by December 31, 2013, while Tshuma was further asked to pay US$200,000 by the same date.
In his police statement, Khumalo said Mafu supplied him with 25kg of ivory in 2008 which he sold to one Mutemwa in Harare for US$1,000.
He said in 2010, he got 54kg of ivory from one Mthandazo Tshuma of Binga and used it to make bangles which he sold in Cape Town, South Africa, for US$13,000. More....