Ivory suspect shifts blame to co-accused

A BULAWAYO man, who was arrested together with two other men for illegally dealing in ivory, has shifted the blame to his co-accused, claiming the tusks belonged to the duo.

Godknows Nyoni, 32, who is seeking bail before the High Court, is jointly charged with Admire Gomba, 44 and Promise Lunga, 21 from Lupane.

Through his lawyer, Maqhawe Mpofu of Samp Mlaudzi and Partners, Nyoni denied the allegations, instead blaming his co-accused.

“He (Nyoni) was given the sack by Gomba and Lunga in Lupane to transport to Bulawayo, to keep it at his workshop on their behalf. He never opened it. When he arrived in Bulawayo, the workshop was closed, so he proceeded to his place of residence in Lochard along Bulawayo — Harare road.

“Had he known what he was carrying, he would not have risked being arrested by passing through all these roadblocks from Lupane to Bulawayo and other two roadblocks from Bulawayo to his homestead,” Mpofu said. 

Mpofu further said that around 10pm, when Nyoni had already retired to bed, he was called by one of his co-accused, asking him to bring the parcel back to Bulawayo, but he declined. 

“They then told him they would meet him halfway at the Ntabazinduna tollgate, so he agreed. 

“When he arrived at the Ntabazinduna tollgate, his co-accused were in the company of officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit and he was told that he was under arrest for being in possession of ivory which he was all along not aware that he was in possession of,” he said.

The three, who appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Linear Khumalo on possession of unmarked/unregistered ivory charges last week, were arrested on June 30 following a police tip-off. They will be back in court on Friday.