Harare: A Zimbabwe National Army officer who was arrested while attempting to sell elephant tusks to a police officer in Harare yesterday appeared in court facing charges of unlawful possession of tusks.

The tusks were taken to National Parks and Wildlife offices where they weighed 16,8 kilogrammes with a value of $2 856. Joseph Mupamhanga (32), stationed at Pomona Barracks, appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Nomsa Sabarauta and was remanded in custody to August 10.

 Ms Sabarauta advised Mupamhanga to seek bail at the High Court.

Allegations are that on July 30 this year, police officers from the Minerals and Border Control Unit, Harare, received information that there was a man selling elephant tusks in Machipisa.

 Acting on the information, the officers went to St Peter’s Vocational Training Centre in Machipisa where the transaction was to take place.

The court heard that one of the officers, a Detective Sergeant Banhu, remained in the vehicle posing as the potential buyer of the tusks. It is further alleged that the other two detectives, Washington Rimayi and Tanya Mazviyo, were monitoring the situation from a distance.

Mupamhanga allegedly arrived and proceeded to the car where Banhu was waiting. Banhu opened the boot of the car and Mupamhanga placed the bag with the elephant tusks inside.

While in the vehicle, it is alleged that the other two detectives pounced and introduced themselves as police officers from Minerals and Border Control Unit.

They asked Mupamhanga to open the bag leading to the discovery of four elephant tusks. It is further alleged that Mupamhanga was asked to produce a permit or licence that authorises him to possess the tusks and he failed, leading to his arrest.-state media