Andile Tshuma, Court Reporter
THE ring leader of three men who were arrested after being found with a pangolin skin has been sentenced to 28 months in prison.
His two accomplices were remanded in custody and were given the option to apply for bail while awaiting continuation of trial tomorrow.
Josias Nyoni (34) of Madumabisa in Hwange, Pikisani Ncube (39) and Edward Mhondiwa (46) both of Entumbane suburb appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Stephen Ndhlovu charged with possession of a trophy of a specially protected animal.
Nyoni pleaded guilty to contravening a section of the Parks and Wildlife Act while his accomplices pleaded not guilty.
Magistrate Ndhlovu said: “You are sentenced to 28 months in prison. Six months will be suspended on condition of good behaviour for five years. The remaining 22 months will be suspended on condition that you perform 630 hours of community service.”
In defence, Nyoni told the magistrate that he found the pangolin dead and skinned it with the intention of handing the skin over to a museum.
“Your Worship, I was just walking in the bush and I came across a dead pangolin. I know it’s a valuable animal, so I decided to skin it and I wanted to take it to the museum in Bulawayo,” said Nyoni.
Prosecuting, Mr Brian Nkala said police found the trio with the trophy on Tuesday afternoon at Entumbane complex in Bulawayo. “On March 15, 2017 at around 11am, detectives from the Minerals and Border Control Unit received information to the effect that the accused persons were in possession of a pangolin skin in Entumbane suburb, Bulawayo,” said the prosecutor.