Babi's bail hearing tomorrow

02 June 2020 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The hearing of a bail application by self-proclaimed “prophet” Jackson Babi (30) and his co-accused, Friza Dumeni (25), has been postponed to tomorrow.

They are among eight suspects arrested in connection with the poaching of two rhinos on a farm near Gobabis.

Four of the eight have appeared before the Otjiwarongo regional court, while two others appeared before the Gobabis Magistrate's Court yesterday.

Babi and Dumeni are accused of the illegal possession of two rhino horns, a firearm and ammunition that were found in the pastor's home in Kleine Kuppe, Windhoek, last week.

The two appeared briefly before Magistrate Linus Samunzala in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court yesterday and were remanded in custody.

The media were not allowed in court due to the strict coronavirus regulations that were still in place yesterday, limiting public gatherings to only ten people.

The two accused have been charged with two counts under the Nature Conservation Ordinance: possession of or dealing in rhino horns, and hunting of specially protected game.

They also face two counts under the Arms and Ammunition Act for the possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence Prosecutor Precious Matali appeared for the State, while Kadhila Amoomo appeared on behalf of Babi and Kalundu Kamwi represented Dumeni.



The arrests

The two men were arrested last Wednesday.

One of the eight suspects is a police officer in the VIP Protection Unit and another is a former member of the Namibian Defence Force.

The case stems from two rhino carcasses that were found on a farm near Gobabis in the Omaheke Region last Tuesday. It is suspected that the rhinos were shot with a hunting rifle and all four rhino horns were illegally removed. That same day, four suspects were arrested at Otjiwarongo when they tried to sell two rhino horns to an undercover police officer.

These four accused, who may not be named, appeared in camera in the regional court at the town last Thursday.

Spokesperson of the environment ministry, Romeo Muyunda, said the case is still in an early and sensitive stage and further arrests could follow.

Two other suspects, Alberto Mbwale and Joseph Matheus, appeared before the Gobabis Magistrate's Court yesterday and the case was postponed to 15 September for further investigations.

Meanwhile, Babi's House of Joy Ministry has warned its followers not to fall prey to con artists who are going around collecting donations in his name. “Such people are not in any way representing the prophet Jackson Babi or any of his associates,” it said.

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