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Police Undercover Operation Thwarts Illegal Ivory Sale in Mabvuku

Police Undercover Operation Thwarts Illegal Ivory Sale in Mabvuku

Two men have appeared before the Harare Magistrates Court accused of possessing raw unmarked ivory, following an undercover police operation that thwarted their plan to sell the ivory in Mabvuku, Harare.

Bernard Chiumbe (50) and Vincent Chiumbe (25) were charged with contravening the Parks and General Regulations as read with the Parks and Wildlife Act, according to prosecutor Thomas Chanakira.

On June 17, 2024, police received a tip-off about the accused’s possession of ivory and their intention to sell it. Acting on this information, Detective Sergeant Murahwa, posing as a buyer, contacted Bernard Chiumbe.

The state alleges Bernard Chiumbe arranged to meet the buyer at Old Tafara Shopping Centre, directing them to Sunbird Tavern Bar to complete the transaction. At the bar, Bernard and Vincent Chiumbe allegedly presented two elephant tusks hidden in a white sack.

When officers signaled for backup, Bernard Chiumbe fled with the ivory in a truck but was subdued by detectives 800 meters away at Chemhanza ground. Vincent Chiumbe was arrested at the bar.

The accused could not produce documentation authorizing possession of the ivory, which weighed 19.30 kilograms and was valued at US$3,281. The ivory was handed over to the exhibit officer for safekeeping.