D-day for Chinese ivory 'dealer'

HARARE - High Court judge Emmy Tsanga will today rule on a bail application filed by a Chinese national accused of illegally possessing 99kg of ivory worth $28 000.

Chen Guoliang was arrested at the Harare International Airport attempting to board a plane to China and is accused of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act.

He faces another charge of contravening the Customs and Excise Act for unlawfully exporting goods.

Tsanga yesterday told Guoliang’s lawyer Tendai Toto that there was insufficient information that would enable the court to make an informed decision on the application.

Prosecutor Douglas Chesa told the court that the State was not opposed to the bail application.

Tsanga expressed shock at the State’s concession.

She said it appeared the State and the investigating officer were taking the court for granted by asking it to make a decision, without furnishing it with all the relevant information.

“I am not satisfied that at this point, bail can be granted,” Tsanga said, before ordering Toto to furnish the court with information pertaining to Guoliang’s work permit and an electronic air ticket to check on when he was supposed to return back to Zimbabwe.

Toto said Guoliang was resident in Zimbabwe and was formally employed as an engineer.

He said all the required details will be provided to the court, before it makes its ruling today.

According to State papers, the complainant in the case is the State represented by Wendy Gomo from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

The court heard that the 36-year-old Chinese national was arrested after his luggage was screened using a scanning machine and immigration officials became suspicious of the contents.

They allegedly called Guoliang for a physical search, before opening his luggage.

According to court papers immigration officials recovered 17 pieces of raw ivory tusks weighing 99kg.

The court heard that the total value of the ivory was $28 475 and it was all was recovered.

It is alleged that upon being questioned by immigration officials, Guoliang failed to produce a permit authorising him to be in possession of the ivory or any documents that gave him permission to export the goods.

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