Illegal Zim gold panner arraigned

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FRANCISTOWN: An illegal gold panner from Zimbabwe was arraigned in court today for contravening the Mines, Quarries and Machinery Act.

The state alleges that Nduna Chuma, 38, unlawfully mined gold at the disused Rainbow Mine near Matsiloje village in the Northeastern part of the Republic of Botswana on May 30, 2019. 

Sub inspector Chilume Mpena applied for Chuma to be remanded in custody because investigations in the matter have just started. 

“My plea in this matter is reserved to allow the prosecution to finalise its investigations. The accused also entered Botswana illegally and may abscond from trial if he is granted bail,” Mpena said. 

Chief Magistrate Faith Dlamini-Ngandu acceded to the prosecution’s application and remanded Chuma in custody in order to give the prosecution the opportunity to finish their investigations.

This was not the first time that Zimbabweans were hauled before court in connection with illegal mining of gold. 

In January 2017, three men from Kwekwe village in Zimbabwe, Alphinos Nhamo, Elliot, Chihwedere, Talent Munzari, and Marko Mbokodo from Nlaqhwane village in Botswana pleaded guilty to unlawful prospecting of gold. 

They committed the offence on June 24, 2016 at Verimark Farm, which is owned by Nicholas Alberts near Matsiloje village. 

The country’s sole gold mining company, Mupane Gold, is situated inside Verimark Farm.

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