Courts come to anti-poaching party

12 September 2019 | Justice

The police have hailed the fact that the country's courts are taking a stronger stance against those involved in poaching activities, by refusing bail.

Six suspects were arrested last week for wildlife crimes.

Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, said in a statement that it is not business as usual, where courts grant bail to suspects arrested for being found in possession of pangolins.

“This is significant compared to previous cases, where suspects involved in the same offences of poaching pangolins received bail. This should be noted by criminals, that the poaching of any wildlife animals is a criminal offence, and will not be tolerated at any stage,” Kanguatjivi said.

He said the police, and other stakeholders involved in the fight against poaching, welcome the fact that the courts are giving significant attention to suspects involved in poaching.

He referred to a matter in which a man was denied bail in the Opuwo Magistrate's Court.

The suspect was arrested on 29 August in the Kunene Region, after he was found in possession of three pangolins - two live and one dead.

The case was postponed for further investigation and the suspect remains in custody.

“The police would once more like to caution members of the public to refrain from poaching any wildlife, as this will lead to their arrest and detention without bail. In the same vein the police appeal to the public to report poaching incidents to the nearest police station or any environment ministry offices in their region.”

According to statistics provided by the Intelligence and Investigation Unit of the environment ministry and the Protected Resource Division in the safety and security ministry, four new cases involving wildlife crimes were registered last week. Out of the six suspects arrested, four were nabbed for elephant poaching and/or trafficking-related cases.

Three elephant tusks were also seized by the police, as well as one piece of elephant tusk and two elephant skins. The police also confiscated a pangolin skin and a live pangolin.

According to this past's weekend's crime report, two men were arrested in Walvis Bay for contravening the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act on Friday.

The two suspects, aged 26 and 25, were arrested at the Standard Bank Business Centre in Nangolo Mbumba Drive, after they were found in possession of one elephant tusk and one pangolin skin, which they apparently intended to sell.

ELLANIE SMIT

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