By Richard Muponde
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese has denied bail to a police boss and his three subordinates who allegedly received a $10 000 bribe from poachers suspected to have recently poisoned to death over 100 elephants in the Hwange National Park.
Makonese upheld the October 10 ruling by Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove denying Detective Assistant Inspector Alois Gakata, Detective Sergeant Wellington Jena, Detective Constables Shadreck Rore and Ronald Dube bail saying they were a flight risk considering the magnitude of the case.
The four cops had appealed to the High Court through their lawyer Charles Mutsahuni Chikore arguing that there was no basis for her finding that they were likely to abscond if granted bail.
However, Makonese concurred with the findings of the lower court.
“I am of the firm view that the facts placed before the learned magistrate contained sufficient detail and the court did not err in concluding that the interests of justice were likely to be compromised if the appellants were released on bail . . . I, therefore, cannot find any basis for overturning the decision of the magistrate denying appellants bail pending trial,” read part of Makonese’s ruling.
“The grounds of appeal as set out by the appellants in this matter do not have merit. The appellants are clearly not suitable candidates for bail. If granted bail, the proper administration of justice could be compromised. The learned magistrate’s decision cannot be assailed. In the result, the appeal is hereby dismissed.”
The detectives allegedly received a $10 000 bribe from poachers accused of poisoning the elephants to release a Toyota Hilux which they had intercepted in Harare carrying a consignment of ivory.
The detectives were exposed by Clever Khumalo (44) and Sipho Mafu (54) who were charged with delivering, or offering toxic substances and also illegally possessing ivory in contravention of the Parks and Wildlife Act and the Environmental Management Act respectively.