Cop in trouble over US$15k pangolin skins

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

POLICE Officer-in-Charge of Armoury in Mashonaland East, Chief Inspector Zivayi Mudara, has appeared in court in Harare after he, and his two accomplices, were allegedly found with pangolin skins worth US$15 000.

Mudara, Shamisai Njere (39) from Nyanga and Regina Kafere (44) from Masvingo, who are being represented by Mr Moffat Makuvatsine, appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Ruth Moyo charged with unlawful possession of products from protected animals.

The three have to apply for bail at the High Court, and their trial will continue today.

The evidence is coming from a team from the CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit: Detective Assistant Inspector B Chiketo B, Detective Asst Insp T Mulara, Detective Sergeant Major Madziwa and Detective Constable Nzema.

Njere and Kafere are cousins, and the two are friends with Mudara.

The State alleged that on September 30, at around 10.30am, detectives heard that the three were in possession of pangolin skins that they wanted to sell at Newlands Shopping Centre from a Honda Fit.

The detectives went there, and saw a parcel wrapped with newspapers and adhesive tape, which was on the front seat, where Njere was seated. She indicated that it was a pangolin skin, with two baby pangolin skins inside.

The wrapped parcel was then opened and it was discovered that indeed, the parcel was a folded pangolin skin with two small two baby pangolin skins.

They were then asked to produce a licence or permit authorising them to possess pangolin skins, but they failed, resulting in their subsequent arrest.

The recovered pangolin skins were assessed by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officials who said the compensation value of the three killed pangolins was US$15 000.

In her defence, Kafere told the court that she was merely a victim and was not aware of what her cousin sister was carrying.

Mudara on the other hand says he carries passengers in his vehicle most of the time and on the day in question, he gave a lift to the two cousins and he had no idea of what they were carrying.

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