HUNTER, SAFARI OWNER IN BATTLE ROYALE

Zvikomborero Parafini 

The trial of William Terrence Kelly, whose company owns a fishery concession in the Zambezi Valley, resumed yesterday with the businessman denying the charges,

He is being accused of illegally entering another conservancy and stealing motion cameras and deleting data.

It is alleged that he illegally entered an estate owned by BIG Five and stole the camera, which monitored movements, where professional hunter, Clifton Walker, with the help of national parks officials had set a bait for hunting.

Kelly argued that he was in his estate, which was given to him by national parks authorities, in terms of a lease agreement signed in 2017.

In cross examination, he put it to Charles Kanda, the officer-in-charge Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Kapirinhengu, that BIG Five’s lease expired in 2021 and, according to a clause in the lease, it was not to be renewed.

Kanda was further put to task to explain agreements that are in place and further conceded that Kelly’s Suscaden was the first to obtain a lease in 2017, which granted him an additional 40 square kilometres, into the BIG Five estate as at January 2022.

He, however, indicated that there was an amendment to that agreement which gave Big Five authority until 2036. 

However, the said amendment was not part of court documents.

Allegations are that in September 2017, Kelly’s company signed a lease agreement with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for operating a Safari lodge.

The agreement included conducting fishing and boat safaris, walking safaris, photographic safaris and related non consumptive activities.

On August 10 last year, Walker, a professional hunter, submitted his hunting permit whereupon he was going to hunt and kill a lion and a leopard in the Big Five Concession (Chewore North).

Walker was assigned to a Zimparks Game Ranger Manoti Mukutowa to monitor the hunt so that he abides by the conditions of the hunting ethics.

The professional hunter killed one Hippopotamus and set baits at strategic points with the guidance of Zimparks game rangers.

It is the State’s case that on August 15, Kelly unlawfully entered into the same safari area and chopped down the hanging bait from the tree and took the Bushnell HD Motion Sensor Camera S/N 423A4FC.

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