VICTORIA FALLS – Hwange Football Club defender Craven Banda has been arrested after he was found with eight raw elephant tusks, police said.
The 35-year-old, an employee of Hwange Colliery Company, was arrested on Sunday after a joint police and park rangers team swooped on him in Makwika Village where he was apprehended with the tusks in a bag.
Banda is charged with contravening section 82 (1) of the Parks and Wildlife (General) Regulations SI 362 of 1990 as read with section 128 (1) (b) of the Parks and Wildlife Act [Chapter 20:14] prohibiting unlawful possession of elephant tusks without a permit or licence.
He faces a minimum nine years’ imprisonment for the offence, if convicted.
Inspector Siphiwe Makonese of Matabeleland North police said Banda was arrested at a bus stop at around 3PM on May 24 following a tip-off.
The raw tusks were inside a blue bag which he was carrying.
The left-back is registered with Hwange for the 2020 season after spending last season with Makomo FC in the Southern Region Division 1 league.
Between 2011 and 2013, he enjoyed a stint with Motlakase Power Dynamos in Botswana.
Despite high profile international efforts to stop the massacre of elephants for the illicit ivory trade, the world’s largest land animals continue to die in appalling numbers.
With illegal ivory selling at around US$730 a kilo, poachers can make life-changing fortunes.
A pan-African study last year revealed how 144,000 elephants had died over the previous decade.