HARARE – The trial of a Chinese national apprehended at Harare International Airport after being found in possession of 99kg of ivory commenced yesterday.
Chen Guoliang was found with ivory worth $28 000 and is accused of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act, for illegal possession of ivory.
He faces another charge of contravening the Customs and Excise Act, for unlawfully exporting goods.
During trial, Zimbabwe Republic Police officer Tavonga Nunurai, stationed at the airport, confirmed he seized four boxes of ivory that had Guoliang’s name tags.
“I was on duty at the airport on October 21 when I was told four boxes of suspicious content had been seized. There were tags on each box inscribed accused’s name,” he said.
“I went to the Border Control offices with the boxes and opened them, first box had five elephant tusks wrapped with cellotape; second had various ivory artefacts and we recovered 17 pieces of raw ivory.”
According to State papers, the complainant in the case is the State represented by Wendy Gomo from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
The 36-year-old Chinese national was arrested at the Harare International Airport, while intending to board a plane to China.
Prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri told the court that Guoliang checked in at the reception and booked an air ticket.
He allegedly wrapped his luggage at the airport, before approaching an immigration officer, where his passport was cleared.
The court heard that Guoliang’s luggage was screened using a scanning machine and immigration officials became suspicious of the contents.
They allegedly called Guoliang for a physical search, before opening his luggage.
According to court papers immigration officials recovered 17 pieces of raw ivory tusks weighing 99kg.
The court heard that the total value of the ivory was $28 475.
It is alleged that upon being questioned by immigration officials, Guoliang failed to produce a permit authorising him to be in possession of the ivory or any documents that gave him permission to export the goods.