In an unprecedented turn of events, yesterday (Thursday) morning, a marathon case involving a suspected notorious poaching kingpin, Dumisani Moyo, was heard behind closed doors following an alleged directive from top officials.
A close source to the case told The Voice that some officials from the Intelligence Services and Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism were not happy that such a ‘notorious poacher’ was granted bail.
The Voice also learnt that the presiding Magistrate who granted the suspect bail was condemned for her actions, and that there are plans to transfer the case to a senior Magistrate.
Moyo aged 52 and others not before court, at or near Francistown-Orapa junction, acting together in concert were allegedly found in an unlawful possession of a rhinoceros horn.
It was since established that he had similar cases in almost all SADC countries and is a wanted man.
In November 2012, when Save the Rhino’s CEO, Cathy Dean, saw a news report that Moyo had been arrested in Botswana on this case she sent a link to the article to contacts in Zimbabwe, who explained that they had been watching Moyo for some time, given his contacts with known rhino poachers, then operating particularly in the Midlands and Matobo areas.
He was thought to have high-level protection within Zimbabwe, having evaded arrest at least twice, allegedly through bribery.
Moyo was awarded bail of P10,000 by a Francistown Magistrates court and he promptly disappeared.
In 2015, after NGO agitation, his name was added to Interpol’s most-wanted list of international traffickers.
In January 2017, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) issued a press release naming Dumisani Moyo as wanted in connection with poaching.
He was believed to be based in Lusaka, working with a notorious Zambian gang involved in cross-border poaching of elephant and rhino.
After lurking in Zambia for a long time, where he allegedly smuggled ivory, Moyo resurfaced in Zimbabwe.
He was eventually arrested in August 2017, as his Interpol notice had to be acted upon.
In December 2017 Moyo was extradited to Botswana and his repeated attempts to get bail were turned down until last month when he was granted a P1000 bail and further ordered to surrender his traveling documents and provide two sureties who also each bound themselves with P500.
Moyo was further ordered to report fortnightly at the CID department at Central Police Station.
His attorney, Kagiso Jani, said even though his client was granted bail, it took his intervention for him to be released.
He said he was tossed around from June 21st until he was eventually released on July 10th. “I wrote a letter to the Clerk of Court seeking for an official explanation why the accused took long to be finally released on bail, even though he had availed sureties to the criminal registry on the 21st of June,” he said.
He further stated that he was wondering whether the current state of affairs could have a bearing on whether his client will face a fair trial before the court or not. “It is a disturbing trend that must be attended to at the earliest possible time.”