The Monitor :: Court To Decide On Moyo’s Bid for freedom
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Last Updated
Friday 22 February 2019, 14:15 pm.
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Court To Decide On Moyo’s Bid for freedom

FRANCISTOWN: Kagiso Jani, an attorney representing an alleged poaching ringleader, Dumisani Moyo, has applied that his client be acquitted of one count of illegal possession of a rhinocerous horn.
By Lebogang Mosikare Lebogang Kokoro Mon 11 Feb 2019, 14:07 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Court To Decide On Moyo’s Bid for freedom








A 2016 study alleges that Moyo is an ivory and rhino horns poaching kingpin in the Southern Africa Development Community region.

According to particulars of the offence, Moyo, 54, 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 nor permit authorising them to possess the same in 2012.

Two locals-a wildlife officer and another person-who were jointly charged with Moyo have since died.

Jani made the application recently before Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng.

Motivating reasons why his client should be acquitted of the charge, Jani stated that the case has been dragging on for a very long time but it looks like the State is willing to prolong it.

“My client is enduring a lot of suffering because he is in a foreign country and is even not enjoying his conjugal rights ever since he was repatriated to Botswana,” said the attorney.

“Currently, there are crises in Zimbabwe where he comes from. Because of the economic and political crises currently happening in Zimbabwe, my client is not sure about the safety of his children and is thus very much worried about their safety.”

Jani continued: “My client’s passport has been confiscated by the police after he was arrested in Zimbabwe and thereafter extradited to Botswana in December, 2017. As a result of his numerous court appearances in court, he is incurring a lot of legal costs every time he appears in court with his attorney. He will thus incur more costs if the court does not acquit him of the charge he is facing.”

However, the State vehemently opposed the defence’s application.

When the matter appeared before Kebeetsweng for continuation of trial, counsel Moffat Dick from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) instead made an application for the matter to be further postponed.

Previously, the court a quo (the court in which the matter was first heard) barred the State

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from producing a rhino horn Moyo is alleged to have been found in possession of as part of evidence.

The court based its ruling on the ground that the State did not comply with case management rules showing that the horn would be used as an exhibit in the matter.

The failure by the State to appeal Kebeetsweng’s ruling on time technically means that Moyo may walk free because the horn, which is a key part of evidence in the matter, will not be produced in court and used as part of evidence during continuation of trial.

After Kebeetsweng barred the State, which also did not appeal Kebeetsweng’s ruling on time, from producing the rhino horn as part of its evidence, the State made an application before the High Court pleading with the court to allow them to be condoned to appeal Kebeetsweng’s ruling out of time.

“The reason why we humbly ask this honourable court to postpone this matter is because there is an application that we made before the High Court concerning the matter this court is currently presiding over,” said Dick:.

“The High Court will hear the application for argument on points in limine (technical points that are dealt with before substantive issues in the case can be dealt with) and merits of the matter on March 8. It would therefore be a travesty of justice if the accused is acquitted before the High Court makes a determination on our application.”

Magistrate Kebeetsweng will deliver ruling on the applications made by the State and defence on February 19.

According to a July 2016 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, Moyo is a holder of both Zimbabwe and Zambia passports.

The study also claims that Interpol has issued an international red notice calling on member states to arrest Moyo.

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