By Thabang Mathebula
A police detective assistant inspector and three colleagues who allegedly received a US$10,000 bribe from poachers suspected to have poisoned to death 95 elephants in Hwange National Park have appeared in court.
The four were remanded in custody by Bulawayo magistrate, Gladmore Mushove, on Monday.
Detective Assistant Inspector Alois Gakata, Detective Sergeant Wellington Jena, Detective Constable Shadreck Rore and Detective Ronald Dube allegedly took the huge bribe to release an impounded vehicle used by a suspected poaching syndicate.
The four were named by several of the alleged poachers who have been arrested as the officers who took the money in order to release their Toyota Hilux.
The truck was transporting elephant tusks to Harare when it was intercepted. Daniel Mba, Mthandazo Tshuma, Mai Rumba, Anna Mvereche and Elfina Mzizi had all been placed under arrest but were allowed to walk after the money was paid, it is alleged.
Robert Maphosa, Thabani Zondo and Dedani Tshuma have already been jailed for poisoning the elephants using cynanide in search of elephant tusks being sold in lucrative Asian markets.
Four other suspected poachers will soon appear in court facing charges of poaching and using cyanide without permission.