Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Suspended director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Edson Chidziya allegedly concealed an audit report in 2015 which exposed the theft of 56 rhino horns worth $3 million.
Chidziya (52) yesterday appeared in court together with three other ZimParks employees in connection with the theft.
Chidziya, who was represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube and was granted $200 bail. He is facing criminal abuse of office charges, while his subordinates are charged with theft of trust property.
ZimParks wildlife officer Padgewell Mazoyo (37), audit manager Gift Kuwora (51) and former security officer Munyaradzi Nhira (32) also appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Barbara Chimbodza in connection with the theft.
They were granted $200 bail each. The complainant is ZimParks represented by its non-executive board chairman Tichafa Enias Mundangepfupfu.
The prosecutor Mr Michael Reza alleged that sometime between September 2012 and May 1, 2013, Chidziya acted as the director-general for ZimParks. He was eventually appointed the substantive director-general and became the accounting officer, with the sole responsibility of reporting to the board.
Chidziya was also responsible for the smooth running of ZimParks. It is alleged that during his tenure of office, Chidziya caused the breach of security procedures of game products under his care.
The court heard that between December 2012 and July 2015, Chidziya gave orders to Mazoyo, Kuwora and Nhira to exchange keys to the ivory strongroom.
The court heard that this was done without a proper handover and takeover procedure, by-passing the standard laid out security procedure. It is alleged that the actions led to 56 rhino horns being stolen.
The theft was discovered during an audit which was carried out in July 2015.As the accounting officer, Chidziya was handed the audit report and instead of reporting the matter to the police, he kept quiet about the issue.