The team was also tasked with investigating a boundary dispute between Mathuphula Hunters and Lodzi Hunters.
Tsholotsho Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer, Themba Moyo, confirmed the probe, but said the team was mostly interested in resolving a boundary dispute between Mathuphula Hunters and Lodzi Hunters.
“Yes, the team from ZimParks was here and they were resolving a demarcation issue. Mathuphula Hunters were complaining that Lodzi Hunters had encroached into their concession and shot some elephants in their area. So the team came here to solve that issue. They asked about the elephants donated towards the construction of the stadium, but it was not a big issue because that is administered by the local authority and not the minister,” Themba Moyo said.
Sources said in 2013, Environment, Water and Climate Change ministry, then under Saviour Kasukuwere, donated 60 elephants, following the cyanide case, which claimed over 40 beasts in the area.
Insiders said of the 60 donated, only 10 were sold at $18 000, each grossing $180 000 and the money was handed over to the rural district council headed by Themba Moyo.
“When Kasukuwere was redeployed, Oppah Muchinguri came and cancelled the deal. Only 10 elephants were sold and the proceeds are what the ZimParks team is investigating,” a senior government said.
Another senior staffer at Tsholotsho RDC responsible for natural resources, Simelisizwe Sibanda, confirmed the visit and its intention, saying they were more concerned with illegal hunters, as well as demarcations for the hunting concessions.
The move had raised eyebrows and speculation that the authority was probing Moyo, who is currently under fire for allegedly abusing over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).
The Tsholotsho North MP last week escaped arrest after the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) swooped on him over the alleged abuse in which his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, and other ministry officials have also been implicated.
The minister accuses the anti-graft body of being used by a faction in Zanu PF to victimise him. At the weekend, more allegations emerged against the minister, with investigators now looking at some “questionable transactions” involving more than $1,5 million.
But a senior staffer within the ministry raised a red flag and alleged that some of the documents flying in the media were stolen, when their offices were broken into early August.
Although Moyo did not respond to a question sent to him over the new alleged investigation, he used Twitter to suggest that the information being used to state that he could have abused over $2 million was stolen.
A senior staff said: “The stuff that has just been realised in the media was never taken by Zacc investigators, but we suspect it was taken when the ministry offices were broken into. A certain staffer, who was within the ministry, we suspect could be behind the issue.”