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Rhino poaching fugitive back in court

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CHAINED: Dumisani Moyo

Zimbabwean fugitive, Dumisani Moyo, who has been evading the law for over five years after he was granted bail in 2012 on rhino poaching charges, was this week back in court following his extradition by Zimbabwean authorities.

According to the charge sheet, the unemployed Moyo acting jointly with other accused persons who were not before court were arrested on the 22nd of October 2012 for unlawful possession of a Rhino horn.

The substantive prosecutor Moffat Dick from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was not before court and Mothusi Dintwa pleaded with the magistrate to remand the accused in custody as the investigations are on-going.

When asked if he had anything to say, Moyo complained of the food served in prison. “The food eaten at prison is not my type of food. I’ve told prison officials about it but they advised me to seek help from the court,” he said and pleaded with the court to arrange for him to communicate with his family in Zimbabwe.

Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng ordered the prosecution to have Moyo examined by a doctor at the prison clinic on his dietary requirements.

The prosecution was also ordered to facilitate communication for Moyo and his family.

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.

He was extradited to Botswana in December 2017 and this week the Francistown Magistrates court heeded the prosecution’s plea and remanded Moyo in custody until his next mention date on the 25th of January this year. (Additional reporting: savetherhino.org)