Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Ivory smuggler approaches High Court for car release

Ivory smuggler approaches High Court for car release

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
ONE of the three men who were arrested after they were found with elephant tusks worth $1 588 at the Plumtree Border Post has approached the High Court seeking the release of his car impounded by the police.

Isaiah Honzeri (39) of Harare has through his lawyers, Liberty Mcijo and Associates, filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order for the release of his South African registered car.

The vehicle, a BMW, was allegedly used in the foiled ivory smuggling bid.

The car is being kept at Plumtree Police Station.

Honzeri cited the Officer-in-Charge of Plumtree Police Station and the State as the respondents.

Honzeri was in March arrested together with Linch Mupfurutsa (33), Shingirai Chitemerere (26) both of Bindura and Rodrick Mupfurutsa, who is still at large, after they were found with three elephant tusks which were hidden in the engine compartment of their vehicle.

The three have since appeared before a magistrate facing a charge of illegal possession of ivory and they were placed off remand.

In papers before the court, Honzeri said the ivory was planted in the engine compartment of his car by his brother in law, Rodrick, who is still at large.

“On March 26 this year, I was preparing to go back to South Africa where I am based when my brother in law, Rodrick Mupfurutsa requested for transport as he was also travelling to the neighbouring country and I agreed to go with him. On the day of my departure, I thoroughly checked oil and water levels after which I sat down to eat breakfast during which my brother-in-law asked for the car on the pretext that he wanted to see his friend before our departure,” said Honzeri.

He said he was shocked when on arrival at Plumtree Border Post, detectives requested to search his car and they discovered a black plastic bag containing ivory hidden between the radiator and engine of the car.

“While we were still checking the contents of the bag, Rodrick reversed the car, turned and drove back into the customs yard where he abandoned the car and fled and up to today his whereabouts are not known. We were arrested together with Linch and Chitemerere and taken to court.

“Trial could not commence before the arrest of Rodrick and on June 24, 2016, further remand was refused and I was placed off remand and refunded my bail. When I requested police to release my car they refused and I therefore seek an order directing the Officer-in-Charge to release my BMW registration number CA557-582,” said Honzeri.

The court heard that on March 27, the four men were on their way to Botswana when they were intercepted with the ivory at Plumtree Border Post.

The elephant tusks were hidden inside the car’s engine compartment.

When Rodrick realised that the police had spotted the package, he fled from the scene in the BMW and later abandoned he vehicle and fled on foot.

@mashnets

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