2 former soldiers handed nine-year prison sentences


Two former soldiers have been sentenced to nine years in jail for the illegal possession of ivory. Wilfred Munesi (33) and Virimayi Nyandoro (36) were convicted and sentenced by magistrate Ruth Moyo.

They were found guilty of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act. However, their alleged accomplices, Maxwell Nduna and Micheal Zhaunkinyu, were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Colonel Alphios Makotore, the army spokesperson, clarified that the convicted individuals had been expelled from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in 2022 due to their involvement in various criminal cases. Makotore stated, “The ZNA would like to reiterate and set the record straight that the duo are no longer members of the ZNA. Munesi and Nyandoro were discharged from the ZNA on January 19, 2022 and December 8 2022, respectively. Both were discharged from the army due to a series of disciplinary and the criminal cases.”

According to State prosecutor Mandy Chigumira, the investigation began on April 2, 2021, when detectives from the CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit in Harare received information regarding individuals seeking potential buyers for ivory. The detectives managed to contact Nduna, who led them to the suspects. Munesi and Nyandoro confirmed having two elephant tusks and intended to sell them for US$40 per kilogram. They claimed to have hidden the ivory in the Mukuvisi River near Brooks Drive, Hillside, Harare. The detectives accompanied the suspects to the river and retrieved the ivory.

Upon seeing the ivory, the detectives identified themselves as CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit members. The duo failed to produce a license or permit authorizing them to possess the ivory, leading to their arrest.

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