TWO former soldiers were last week sentenced to nine years in jail for illegal possession of ivory.Wilfred Minesi (33) and Virimayi Nyandoro (36) were convicted and sentenced by magistrate Ruth Moyo.
They were facing a charge of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act.Their alleged accomplices Maxwell Nduna and Micheal Zhaunkinyu were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
According to army spokesperson, Colonel Alphios Makotore, the convicts were expelled in 2022 for being involved in various criminal cases.“The ZNA would like to reiterate and set the record straight that the duo are no longer members of the ZNA,” Makotore said in a statement.
“Munesi and Nyandoro were discharged from the ZNA on January 19, 2022 and December 8 2022, respectively. Both were discharged from the army due to a series of disciplinary and the criminal cases.”
State prosecutor Mandy Chigumira said on April 2, 2021, detectives from CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit in Harare received information to the effect that there were men looking for potential buyers of ivory.
Detectives managed to contact Nduna who led them to the suspects.Upon meeting with the detectives, Minesi and Nyandoro confirmed having two elephant tusks that they intended to sell for US$40 per kilogramme.
They claimed to have hidden the ivory in Mukuvisi River near Brooks Drive, Hillside, Harare.They then led detectives to the river where the ivory was retrieved.
Upon seeing the ivory, the detectives identified themselves as CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit members.
The court heard that the duo failed to produce a licence or permit that authorised it to possess the ivory, leading to its arrest.