Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
A TSHOLOTSHO businessman has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after police found an elephant tusk hidden in his bedroom.
Willers Matonhodze, (43), told the court that he suspected his wife tipped the police after the two had a misunderstanding earlier and she then threatened to expose him.
Matonhodze, of Mpilo Line under Chief Siposo pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of ivory when he appeared before Hwange magistrate in-charge Mrs Rose Dube.
The magistrate sentenced him to a mandatory 10 years after convicting him.
Matonhodze lives at his shop at Mpilo Shopping Centre and also has a rural homestead in the same village.
The tusk was recovered from his bedroom at the shops. The tusk weighed 3kg and was valued at $750.
Matonhodze claimed that he picked the tusk from the bush while herding cattle.
The businessman said some unnamed people discouraged him from surrendering it to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority saying he would be arrested.
“I picked it from the bush and when I wanted to take it to Zimparks, some people told me that I would be arrested,” said Matonhodze.
A patrol team comprising police and rangers from Zimparks proceeded to Mpilo shops on Saturday following a tip-off, the court was told.
“While at the house, the team conducted a search and a ranger Mr Dumisani Moyo recovered a tusk which was in a sack in the bedroom. The accused was asked to produce a licence allowing him to possess ivory and failed leading to his arrest,” said the prosecutor Ms Loveness Maseko.