A HARARE magistrate on Wednesday sentenced a 38-year-old man to nine years in jail after he was found in possession of a pangolin. Henry Makunde was sent to jail after Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe ruled that there were no special circumstances. His nephew Desire Murire (19) was sentenced to an effective two years after the magistrate ruled that his age was a special circumstance.
Murire, of Maronga Village under Chief Musikavanhu in Chipinge, pleaded guilty to possession of a pangolin without a permit. He was sentenced to three years in prison before Mr Mahwe suspended one year for five years.
He immediately informed his uncle Makunde. Makunde ordered the teenager to safely guard the pangolin. The pangolin was transported to Mbare, Harare. On January 22, detectives received a tip off that someone was in possession of a pangolin.
Acting on the tip off, detectives teamed up with Mbare police crack team and proceeded to Marowa Shopping Centre in Mbare. Police located three men discussing the pangolin and pounced on them. They were led to No. 9 Chitiyo Road in the same suburb, where they found the pangolin in the refrigerator.
Trying to shift blame, Makunde told the police that the pangolin belonged to his nephew and that the owner of the refrigerator was his landlord Dhliwayo.
The trio was arrested and the pangolin was taken to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.