Gaborone - The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (PWMA) of Zimbabwe is reportedly investigating Higher and Tertiary Education minister Professor Jonathan Moyo for the alleged abuse of funds of up to US$200,000 (about R2.9 million).

The money was raised through the sale of elephant trophy hunts to fund the construction of a soccer stadium in his parliamentary constituency.

Local media reports said Moyo, who is facing a bigger probe for the alleged abuse of up to US$500,000 from a parastatal that falls under his ministry, is now also being probed by the wildlife authority after failing to account for the money raised from the sale of the elephants, which was sanctioned in February last year.

The government approved the sale of 60 elephants to trophy hunters at a cost of between US$20,000 and US$30,000 on the understanding that the proceeds would be used to fund the construction of a soccer stadium in the minister's home town of Tsholotsho, north-west of the country.

The minister, his deputy and three subordinates, are being probed for diverting up to US$500,000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) to fund the activities of a faction of the ruling Zanu PF party that is sympathetic to First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said she was not privy to the investigation and referred all questions to the police, while efforts to contact Moyo failed.

However, Moyo has not denied using funds from Zimdef, a manpower development fund supported by compulsory contributions from industry, to fund party activities among other things. He has publicly defended himself and even written to President Robert Mugabe to seek protection, saying he used all the money to fund party activities in support of the president and his wife.