Two men accused of illegally possessing and transporting rhino horns, with an estimated black market value of more than R3.3mil ($240,000), were denied bail in Harare, Zimbabwe yesterday.
Brent Lunt from Kimberley, South Africa and Nyasha Matendawafa from Zimbabwe were arrested on Tuesday when police officials seized four rhino horns, weighing 5.9kg, during a raid on their vehicle.
Detective Thomas Karimundengu said that CID Mineral, Flora and Fauna officials received information that smugglers in a white Toyota Mark X were intending to sell the rhinoceros horns in the Msasa area, Harare. “Detectives spotted the vehicle matching the same description driving along Citroen Road, Msasa. The rhino horns were found on the second accused’s lap, in a blue bag. Both accused failed to provide the necessary permits, amongst other documentation, for the possession, -transportation and handling of rhino horns.”
Karimundengu said both accused’s chances of absconding are very high.
“This is because the evidence against both accused are overwhelming and if convicted, their charge attracts a long mandatory custodial sentence which will induce the accused persons to abscond.”
He said Lunt is a South African who were staying in Zimbabwe illegally. He had since violated the immigration act. There are also outstanding investigations.
The investigation should be completed on 17 July. The accused remains in custody
The origins of the rhino horns remain unknown.