CAAZ employees in court over ivory

Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
TWO Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe employees and an accomplice appeared in court yesterday for possessing 15,9kg of ivory worth $2 703.

Kudakwashe Henry Chagonda (32) and Mukudzeyi Muvengwi (37) of the CAAZ, and John Chirambadare, who is reportedly unemployed, were nabbed at the Harare International Airport for the offence.

They allegedly violated the Parks and Wildlife Act.

The trio appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe.

They were granted $500 bail each and ordered to surrender their passports, reside at their given addresses, not to interfere with State witnesses and to report once every Friday at Harare International Airport Police Station.

Allegations are that on May 28, Gladys Chingaira, an employee of CAAZ, was on duty at Harare International Airport when she noticed an unattended black satchel close to the check-in counters.

She immediately advised her supervisor Christopher Chidodo through another workmate only identified as Bembere.

The court heard that Chidodo instructed Bembere to bring the satchel for scanning and verification.

The satchel was scanned using an X-ray machine and Chidodo observed suspicious goods.

He opened the satchel and noticed that it had suspected ivory artefacts.

It is the State’s case that Chidodo proceeded to the CCTV office to view footage and observed Chagonda leaving the satchel near the baggage tunnel.

It is alleged that Chagonda approached Chidodo and indicated that the satchel was in his custody but belonged to Muvengwi.

The court heard that on May 28, the suspected ivory artefacts were taken to Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for verification.

It was confirmed that they were 102 semi-processed ivory bangles, 102 semi-processed ivory round stamps and 16 semi-processed ivory rectangle stamps, weighing 15,9kg and valued at $2 703.

Chagonda was arrested and he implicated Muvengwi.

Chirambadare was arrested at Harare International Airport when he claimed ownership of the satchel and its contents.

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