FRANCISTOWN: Save the Rhino International, a UK-based conservation charity, has expressed disappointment at the decision to release 'profilic' poacher, Dumisani Moyo, on bail.
Save the Rhino is also Europe’s largest single-species rhino charity, in terms of funds raised and grants given, as well as in terms of profile and positioning.
Police have been blamed for doing a shoddy job that led to Moyo being easily granted bail.
Granting the accused bail in Francistown recently, Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng said that in December 15, 2017, the prosecution applied for Moyo to be remanded in custody on the premise that he was a flight risk.
Kebeetsweng stated that Moyo has been in custody ever since he was extradited from Zimbabwe, but the prosecution has failed to avail the investigating officer to give reasons why he should continue to be remanded in custody.
The magistrate added that records show that ever since Moyo was remanded in custody, the prosecution has been saying that it would bring the investigating officer to state reasons why Moyo should continue being remanded in custody, but it has not done so.
Kebeetsweng said that she was left with no choice but to grant Moyo bail because his continued remand in custody is akin to trampling on his right of being presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
Save the Rhino said that it is very worrying that despite the evidence and his proven flight-risk record, Moyo was
“It is hard enough to get people like Moyo into custody,” Cathy Dean, Save the Rhino’s CEO said in a statement recently.
Save the Rhino expressed concern about a series of ‘deliberately’ mishandled court cases that have allowed hardened rhino poachers ‘like Moyo’ to walk free; calling for greater scrutiny of the law-enforcement process.
Moyo has escaped prosecution for several poaching offences in the past.
Dean added, “The situation we have now is absurd: either the impact of corruption goes further up the chain than we feared, or the political will to tackle wildlife crime is simply lacking. If we are to stop poaching, we need to be able to prosecute kingpins further up the chain of command than the Level 1 “shooters and convict those found guilty”.
Moyo was repatriated from Zimbabwe to Botswana towards the end of last year to face a single count of being found with a rhinoceros horn without lawful cause in October 2012 along the Francistown-Orapa junction road.
The 52-year-old was previously granted bail by the Francistown Magistrate’s Court in 2012 but escaped without a trace until he was arrested in Zimbabwe last year before being extradited to Botswana. He has often been linked with high level poaching activities in the SADC region.