Investigations into cyanide poisoning which saw the country losing
about 400 elephants in the past two years are still ongoing and no one
has been arrested yet, the court heard yesterday. Zimbabwe Parks and
Wildlife Management Authoritys regional manager Mr Tawanda Gotosa said
this while testifying in the trial of The Sunday Mail editor Mabasa
Sasa, investigations editor Brian Chitemba and reporter Tinashe
The trio is accused of communicating or publishing false statements
after alleging that a top cop was fingered in poaching. While
answering questions from defence counsel Advocate Fadzayi Mahere in
cross-examination, Mr Gotosa said investigations were ongoing. “Are
investigations ongoing because you are failing to apprehend the
culprits?” asked Adv Mahere and Mr Gotosa said “yes”.
Mr Gotosa was asked whether the investigating officer in the matter,
Deputy Officer Commanding Crime, Minerals and Border Control Unit
Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugomeri contacted him the day the article
was published on November 1, last year.
“The police contacted me after the article was published, certainly
not on November 1,” he replied. “Mugomeri said he contacted you on
November 1, one of you is lying,” said Adv Mahere concluding her
cross-examination. Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe adjourned trial
to June 21.
Cyanide is a highly poisonous chemical, used in processing gold.
Sasa, Chitemba and Farawo were arrested following the publication of
an article on November 1, 2015 which implicated some police officers,
rangers from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe
and Asian nationals in poaching activities in Hwange.
It is alleged that the trio knew that no assistant commissioner of the
police was being investigated for involvement in the poaching of the
elephants, nor had the Zimbabwe Republic Police made any arrest in
connection with the crime. The trio is accused of publishing
falsehoods that were likely to adversely affect the tourism industry
and the economy.