MWENEZI - Chief Mazetese, whose area of jurisdiction covers some parts of Mwenezi West, is reportedly presiding over criminal cases and fining 'convicts', the Mwenezi Magistrates' Court has heard.
The beans were spilled during the trial of 34-year old Tadzoka Moyo of Chomunogwa village under Chief Maranda who was facing charges of contravening Section 59 (1) (A) of the Parks and Wildlife Act Chapter 20:12 but was acquitted at the close of the State's case.
In acquitting Moyo, magistrate Honest Musiiwa expressed a number of concerns key among them the State's failure to bring to court Moyo's co-accused, and the fact that the case was first heard at Chief Mazetese's court.
"There are many loopholes in this case. The snares that the accused is said to have used were never brought as exhibit. The co-accused who was caught by game scouts after Moyo fled was never brought to court to stand as a witness or as an accused.
"Besides that, the matter is also said to have been presided over at the chief's court. It shows that there was a possibility of underhand dealings in this case. Chiefs are not allowed to preside over criminal cases. Such loopholes, among others, served to discredit the case hence the accused's acquittal," said Musiiwa.
On his part, Moyo, who denied the charges, told the court that he had earlier on been arraigned before Chief Mazetese's court and ordered to pay a beast for the alleged offence.
"Ndakauya ndikatorwa pamba nema game scouts akabva andiendesa kwa Chief Mazetese ndobva ndasvika ndikanzi ndibhadhare mombe pamhosva yepoaching. Apa ndaitoudzwa kuti umwe wangu aive atobhadhara muripo wake ndini ndega ndainge ndasara. Ndakadzokere nemupurisa waVaShe kumusha kwangu achida kunotinha mombe yacho asi ini ndakasvika ndoramba nokuti mhosva ndanga ndisingaizivi," Moyo told the court.
Appearing for the State, Angelinah Makonya said in June last year, Moyo went to Malangani Ranch in the company of Moshen Mambanje, who is still at large, where they set 20 wire snares.
The following day, game scouts who were on patrol noticed that a wild beast with a net value of US$2 000 had been caught by the snare.
The scouts then spotted Moyo and Mambanje checking other snares but they later fled the scene. A police report was made leading to the arrest of Moyo.local