A suspected elephant tusk dealer looked startled in the dock this week as details of his alleged cross-border trade were laid down before a Maun Magistrate’s court.
The accused, Aritoko Dubo, 63, who is facing a single charge of dealing in elephant tusks is represented by Lesego Phoi of Phoi and Associates and has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
He is alleged to have on March 2014 sold four elephant tusks to three Namibian citizens.
According to court documents, Dubo received P8 800.00 as proceeds for the sale of the tusks.
While his foreign partners-in-crime have already been convicted by the Katima Mulilo Magistrates Court in Namibia and are now serving their sentences, the accused who hails from Popagano ward in Gudikwa Village, on Tuesday appeared for commencement of his trial.
The tusks that are currently kept in Namibia by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism are said to be weighing 90.20 kilograms and valued at 91 092.02 NAD (Namibian Dollar).
Giving evidence before court, a Namibian Senior Game Ranger under the Directorate of Wildlife and National Parks, Geoffrey Tukuhupwele, explained that- together with the police in early March, they arrested four Namibian men (Joseph Muyambanga, Mazila Kayambiso, Mukonda Dave and Muhambiwa Vista) who were found in possession of the elephant tusks.
Tukuhupwele told court that the suspects were seen by a reliable source a day before; crossing the Kwando River from Botswana into Namibia carrying what was suspected to be elephant tusks.
According to Tukuhupwele the suspects, during interrogation, confirmed that they had bought the tusks in Botswana at Seshokora cattle post in Gudikwa from one old man named ‘Sechoni’ who happen to be the accused person.
Through a joint investigation operation between the Namibian and Botswana law enforcers the accused was on the 13th of March arrested at the said cattle post in his compound.
It is reported that a point 375 rifle, a short gun, two sets of ammunition together with the P8 800.00 cash wrapped in a white plastic bag were discovered at the accused person’s house.
Meanwhile the defense lawyer has accused the police of torturing and assaulting the accused person upon his arrest.
“The torture was so severe that the accused person needed medical attention,” claimed the lawyer.
The defense intend to call three witnesses and the case was set for continuation of trial on the 6th of March.