4 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Poacher Zimparks Employee Shot

Photo: WWF-US / Steve Morello
(File photo).

A Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) employee was shot and injured while allegedly poaching for elephant tusks at Mana Pools National Park.

Charles Katazo (26) was remanded on his hospital bed by Harare magistrate Ms Josephine Sande. He was found in possession of two elephant tusks. The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that Katazo entered Mana Pools National Park without a permit.

Meanwhile, suspended Zimparks director-general Edson Chidziya was remanded to September 5, on charges of concealing a 2015 audit report which exposed the theft of 56 rhino horns worth $3 million.

Chidziya (52), who is represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, appeared in court on Thursday with three other ZimParks employees in connection with the offence.

Chidziya is facing criminal abuse of office charges. His subordinates -- Zimparks wildlife officer Padgewell Mazoyo (37), audit manager Gift Kuwora (51) and former security officer Munyaradzi Nhira (32) -- are charged with theft of trust property.

It is alleged that sometime between September 2012 to May 1, 2013 Chidziya acted as director-general for Zimparks. He was eventually confirmed as the substantive director-general. But during his tenure as accounting officer, Chidziya is accused of flagrantly disregarding key security procedures.

The court heard that between December 2012 and July 2015, Chidziya gave orders to Mazoyo, Kuwora and Nhira to exchange keys to the ivory strong room among themselves.

And this, according to the court, was done without a proper hand-over take-over procedure, which violated laid-out security protocols. It is alleged that 56 rhino horns were lost as a result of lax security.

The theft was discovered through a July 2015 audit. As the accounting officer, Chidziya did not however report the matter to the police. It is believed that Chidziya's year-long silence prejudiced investigations.

Zimparks lost $3 million and nothing was recovered.

Zimbabwe

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