FRANCISTOWN: An alleged poaching kingpin of the SADC region, Dumisani Moyo appeared in court today (Wednesday) facing a single count of unlawful possession of rhinoceros horn.
According to the particulars of the offence, Moyo, 52, and others not before court at or near Francistown-Orapa junction acting together in concert were found in unlawful possession of rhinoceros horn without a licence or authorisation permit.
On Wednesday, state prosecutor Mothusi Dintwa from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who was holding brief for the substantive state counsel in the matter Moffat Dick told the court that investigations into the matter were still ongoing.
Dintwa said Dick would be available in court during the next mention to brief it on the status of the investigations.
He applied for the accused to be further remanded in custody.
In response, Moyo who cut a forlorn figure when taking stand in the dock asked Dintwa when trial dates in the matter would be set.
However, Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng told Moyo that trial dates in the case could not be set until investigations are complete.
“In the last mention, you also mentioned that you would engage an attorney to represent you. How far are you with the process of engaging an attorney?” Kebeetsweng asked.
To which Moyo stated that, “I want the court to assist me to communicate with my family in Zimbabwe to engage an attorney. The prison authorities told me that they are not allowed to assist me to call people outside Botswana using their phones”.
He also told the magistrate that he has issues with prisons food. “I don’t usually eat
Kebeetsweng asked Moyo how the court could assist him since it does not interfere with the affairs of the prison service.
“I tried to talk to the prison officers about the food issue but they told me to tell the court about the matter,” was Moyo’s response.
To which the magistrate told the accused that to visit the prison clinic for help as regards nutrition.
On the matter of engaging an attorney, Kebeetsweng ordered the prosecution to assist Moyo to communicate with his family in Zimbabwe.
Prosecutor Dintwa told court that they have already made arrangements for the accused to telephone his family in Zimbabwe.
Moreover, said the prosecutor, a doctor shall examine the accused to determine what type of food he shall have while in custody.
Moyo was further remanded in custody and will appear in court on January 25 for status report.
Moyo’s alleged poaching notoriety is already a subject of research.
A study entitled ‘Beyond Borders: Crime, conservation and criminal networks in illicit rhino horn trade’, that was carried out by the Global Initiative against Transactional Organised Crime, states that Interpol has issued an international red notice calling for member states to arrest Moyo.
It further states that the unemployed 52-year old is a holder of both Zimbabwe and Zambia passports.