Mutare — Two geologists from a Russian mining corporate, Alrosa who were arrested for illegally prospecting for gold in the Nyanga Park and washing the ore in Nyangombe river, were acquitted by a local magistrate.
The pair, Tension Hlatini (36), and Igor Shmakov (49), employed as geologist and chief geologist, respectively, were freed after a full trial by magistrate Constance Marutya.
Marutya said the State failed to provide enough evidence to incriminate the two.
They are being charged with prospecting for gold without a licence as defined in Section 168(1) (a) of the Mines and Minerals Act or alternatively criminal trespass under section 132(1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
According to State papers, Hlatini and Shmakov were arrested by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority ranger Jameson Kambewa on January 3.
Kambewa was doing some cleaning along Nyanga-Rusape road at about 0945 hours.
The duo was washing its gold ore at a section of Nyangombe River that is within the Nyanga national park.
Hlatini and Shmakov were asked to produce prospecting licences which they failed to, leading to their arrest.
They had possession of a shovel, wrench, four kintest sieve set, silver bowl, green plastic sieve, green gold pan, 24 inch iron bar, geological hammer, machete, mortar and pestle, pick, axe, store bars, 1.5 metre wooden stick, wooden sleeve, wooden pan, gloves, brown bag with spare parts, green bowl and blue and purple sacks as well as 363 kgs of mineral ore.
The two were taken to Nyanga police where they were formally charged.