Appeal backfires

The High Court has added money laundering to the list of convictions of four Chinese men who had appealed against their sentences for wildlife crimes.

16 April 2019 | Justice

Four Chinese men, who were originally handed 14-year sentences for wildlife crimes, including rhino horn smuggling, had the shock of their lives when their appeal ended with the High Court also convicting and sentencing them for money laundering.

Li Xiaoling, Li Zhibing, Pu Xuexin and Wang Hui were originally convicted and sentenced in 2016 in the Windhoek Regional Court for trying to smuggle 14 rhino horns and a leopard skin out of the country. Portions of their 14-year sentences were suspended. They have now been slapped with 20-year jail terms, of which five years were suspended, on condition they are not convicted of money-laundering or the export, possession or dealing in wildlife products. The court ordered that their sentences be backdated to their regional court sentencing date - 30 September 2016.

Xiaoling, Zhibing and Xuexin were caught with 14 rhino horns worth N$2.3 million as well as a leopard skin worth about N$50 000 in their luggage on 23 March 2014 at Hosea Kutako International Airport, while Hui, who is believed to be the kingpin, was arrested in May that year at the Windhoek Country Club Resort.

They were found guilty of dealing in controlled wildlife products, the unlawful possession of such products and their unlawful exportation. They were found not guilty of money laundering. Acting Judge Alfred Siboleka, in concurrence with Judge Dinnah Usiku and Judge Siboleka, not only dismissed their appeal last Friday, but also ruled they should have been found guilty of unlawfully acquiring, possessing, using or taking the proceeds of their unlawful activities out of Namibia.

Siboleka said the ultimate purpose of being found in possession of or dealing in rhino horns is to launder, and bring the local tourism industry to its knees.

“If this subtle onslaught is not tackled with an iron fist, irreparable damage to our wildlife is inevitable and certain,” Siboleka said.

He said the four men booked into the Windhoek Country Club Resort for one day.

“The finer substantial details of their movements between the two rooms in which they were booked show that they were jointly and severally in association with each other.”

According to Siboleka they were in full control of their luggage, which included the two suitcases in which the 14 rhino horns and the leopard skin were found.

“The group's joint and full control over their luggage continued to manifest itself, even up to the time when the officer informed them about the detection and removal from the conveyor belt of the two suitcases at the departure luggage point.”

Siboleka said the four Chinese men used the proceeds of unlawful activities, which is what money laundering is, materially, all about.

“The fact that these products were detected at the departure luggage conveyor belt at Hosea Kutako International Airport, and were destined to be flown out of the country, shows that all the preparations required had gone past consummation, in that they had been finalised.”

Siboleka also referred to the fact that Xiaoling pleaded guilty to the charges, while taking all the blame on his shoulders and exonerating his co-accused.

“This conduct is a proof beyond reasonable doubt that they indeed were jointly and severally operating in common purpose as a group. This is an unassailable, credible acknowledgment that they all were aware of the presence of the 14 rhino horns and the leopard skin in the two suitcases.”

The Chinese men were represented by Nambili Mhata, while advocate Simba Nduna was the prosecutor.

ELLANIE SMIT

Similar News

 

Bid to evict land-grabbers fails

21 hours ago | Justice

On Sunday, High Court Judge Marlene Tommasi struck an urgent application by the Gobabis municipality to interdict a group of land-grabbers from the roll due...

Pastor accused of raping daughter for 13 years

1 day - 17 June 2019 | Justice

Following a marathon court session, a 55-year-old Okahandja pastor who is accused of raping his own daughter over a period of 13 years, has been...

'I was a Swapo informant'

1 day - 17 June 2019 | Justice

Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) double murder suspect Ernst Joseph Lichtenstrasser, who claims he gathered information for Swapo during the liberation struggle, has...

Double murder accused maintains his innocence

5 days ago - 13 June 2019 | Justice

Ernst Joseph Lichtenstrasser, accused of murdering NIMT CEO Eckhart Mueller and his deputy Heimo Hellwig in April, today maintained his innocence during his bail application...

Bail granted in shooting case

5 days ago - 13 June 2019 | Justice

A University of Namibia (Unam) lecturer, who allegedly shot and wounded two brothers last December, has been granted bail of N$10 000 by the Rundu...

Fines for kidnapping, assault

5 days ago - 13 June 2019 | Justice

Four Walvis Bay residents, who kidnapped three boys nearly five years ago, held them against the will for several hours and assaulted them, have been...

Small win for accidental police shooting victim

6 days ago - 12 June 2019 | Justice

A former Iveco bus driver wounded by a stray bullet fired from a police officer's gun has been awarded N$150 000 in damages after suing...

No licence to spy

6 days ago - 12 June 2019 | Justice

Evidence that the Namibian government has acquired top-notch surveillance equipment on the international market over the past decade has raised concern that it is being...

PG decides on mayor

6 days ago - 12 June 2019 | Justice

The decision of the prosecutor-general's office on whether Tsumeb mayor Mathews Hangula will be prosecuted or not will be revealed today in the Tsumeb Magistrate's...

High Court overturns airport tender

6 days ago - 12 June 2019 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKES The High Court has cancelled a contract awarded to China State Engineering Construction Corporation to upgrade Ondangwa Airport at a cost of N$211...

Latest News

Geingob regrets fatal shooting

21 hours ago | Government

JANA-MARI SMITH President Hage Geingob has reached out to the family of 22-year-old Fambaune Black, who was killed by a Namibian Defence Force (NDF)...

Sky is the limit for...

21 hours ago | Technology

Ester Kamati Megan Werner, an experienced model and published author, recently finished building an aircraft along with 20 other youth, which they plan to fly...

The weight of expectation

21 hours ago | Columns

A huge weight of expectation will undoubtedly rest on political leaders vying for office later this year. While there is a sense that the current...

It’s not that serious!

21 hours ago | Columns

Ester KamatiThis may be a worn-out topic but the need to talk about it is quite strong. Lately romantic relationships among youth have simply become...

New name for Etakaya

21 hours ago | Education

Justicia Shipena Etakaya Primary School, situated at Etakaya village of Etakaya in the Ohangwena Region, was recently renamed Sakaria H Nghikembua Primary School.The school...

Feeling the momentum!

21 hours ago | Sports

Ester KamatiWindhoek High School’s Vegkop stadium is home to many memorable games when it comes to rugby and this year was no different. The stadium...

Improving Africa through constructive debate

21 hours ago | Education

Ester KamatiThe 2019 Day of the African Child Debate and Public Speaking Championships knockout rounds were held at the St George's ­Diocesan School on 14...

40 000 to benefit from...

21 hours ago | Environment

More than 40 000 beneficiaries are expected to benefit from a climate change project in the Kunene Region.This is 57% of the total population of...

Houses, drought relief food not...

21 hours ago | Infrastructure

People should not see houses built for them as a way for the ruling party to campaign for the upcoming election, but rather as development...

Load More