Anti-Poaching Unit Undermines Court Proceedings

Chedza Mmolawa

A poaching suspect, Dumisani Moyo, who is believed by anti-poaching units to have been operating within a number of Southern African countries, has caught the attention of top authorities in government after he was granted bail on the 21st of June by Francistown Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng. It is alleged that top officials in the tourism sector are livid over the way the case has been handled by the prosecuting authorities that resulted in the court ordering the release of Moyo on bail, as they allege that he is a threat to wildlife within the SADC region.
Moyo who is a Zimbabwean national was first arrested in Botswana 5 years ago and was granted bail in the amount of P10 thousand after being arrested on a charge of being in possession of a rhinoceros horn without a license or authorization permit. After failing turn up to court he evaded law enforcement agencies until he was re-arrested in December 2017 in Zimbabwe.
Following inter government exchanges, Moyo was extradited back to Botswana by Zimbabwean law enforcement. Officials in law enforcement circles who spoke to The Botswana Gazette expressed their shock that despite Moyo’s failure to adhere to the bail conditions the prosecution failed to convince the Court that he constituted a flight risk.
Granting Moyo bail the Court ordered that he had to pay an amount of P1000 and provide two Batswana sureties who will pay P500 each, he is also expected to report to the Francistown Central CID office every fortnight and to surrender all his travel documents to the CID. Reports reaching this publication reveal that Moyo has alleged that he was being deliberately impeded by local law enforcement agencies from meeting the conditions imposed on him by Court.
On July 11th, Moyo’s lawyer Kagiso Jani of Tshekiso, Ditiro and Jani Attorneys submitted an urgent application with the court seeking an official explanation as to why their client has been sent from pillar to post when trying to get his sureties to pay as stipulated in the bail conditions.
Attorney Jani advised the Court that from June 21st to July 10th, when Moyo was finally released, he had tried in vain to be assisted by means of paying and availing his sureties to pay and sign for his conditional release from prison. Moyo’s wife also informed this publication said at one point she was informed that the court had directed to see Moyo’s lawyer and the prosecution before the sureties would be allowed to pay and sign.
In the application to compel law enforcement to release his client, Jani confirmed that indeed he had appeared in court on July 4th, as per the courts direction but the matter was not called for hearing. He confirmed in court that the State Prosecutor Mabalane of the DPP informed him that she was aware of the call by the court but that the nature of the proceedings had not been disclosed to her. Jani continued to say his law firm is concerned that there appears to be a plot to keep his client in custody despite him having satisfied all the conditions set by the court for his release from custody.
A packed courtroom was left in awe on Wednesday when the matter was heard in the Magistrates chambers and not in open court. The unsettled lawyer was compelled to ask the magistrate to listen to the matter in chambers as, according to him, there were obvious signs that the courtroom was packed full of DISS agents. A reliable source revealed that while in the court chambers, it was concluded that the clerk of court provide Moyo and his lawyers a written explanation on the impediments he faced when seeking to fulfil the conditions of bail, by the end of this week. It was also revealed that the magistrate handling this case has declared that she has no jurisdiction to pass judgment on the charges laid against Moyo, even though she has the power to grant him bail.