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Police confirm charging Grobler for trespassing
Police confirm charging Grobler for trespassing

Police confirm charging Grobler for trespassing

Cindy Van Wyk
ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

Police yesterday confirmed they have charged journalist John Grobler and Nrupesh Soni, the founder and owner of Namibia Travel and Tourism Forum, for trespassing.

The pair on Saturday afternoon flew a drone over a farm in Gobabis, owned by GoHunt Namibia Safaris. This is deemed illegal if no permission was obtained from the owner of the property.

The Elizabeth Margaret Steyn (EMS) Foundation, a global wildlife animal rights group, has condemned Namibia over the treatment of the two men.

Grobler was allegedly investigating a controversial elephant auction, while Soni said he was assisting with flying the drone.

They were filming footage at the farm where 23 wild, captured elephants with two newborn calves are allegedly being kept.

Grobler said this shows that the cows were pregnant when captured.

Legal implications

The auction and sale of elephants in Namibia has been highly criticised, with the environment ministry being accused of not being transparent about the matter.

News of the auctioning of 170 elephants broke in December 2020 and caused an uproar. The ministry sold 57 of the elephants last year for N$5.9 million, of which 42 will be exported.

The ministry had been adamant that it would not disclose any information about the bidders or the countries the elephants are being exported to out of fear of retaliation.

Questioned about the transparency of the process, ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said they can only share more once the entire process has been completed, otherwise there may be legal implications.

Charges

Grobler and Soni face charges of trespassing and hunting of specially protected game without a permit.

“It is further alleged that the suspects used the drone to wilfully disturb the specially protected game without a permit or written authority issued by the environment ministry,” the police said.

After the matter was reported to the police and the ministry, they were intercepted in Gobabis, the report read.

Police confiscated a DJI Phantom drone equipped with a SG card that contained visuals of the elephants on the farm. Investigations into the matter continue.

He said, she said

Grobler, however, said for the trespassing charge to be valid, they would have had to be arrested on the farm and not in Gobabis, which is about 120km away.

He added that he formally requested access to the elephants in person from the owner last Monday and was told that he had to ask the ministry. The ministry’s office based in Gobabis however insisted that the owner had to give permission.

Heavy-handed

The EMS Foundation said it is concerned about the lack of transparency by the Namibian government on the said auction and does not condone government’s heavy-handed approach towards Grobler and Soni.

“The capture of free roaming wild elephants is a matter of national interest, general public concern and importance. This is a subject of legitimate global news interest,” it said.

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Namibian Sun 2024-05-27

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 355.76/OZ UP +0.79% | Copper US$ 4.81/lb UP +1.64% | Zinc US$ 3 077.30/T UP 0.19% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 83.02/BBP UP +0.83% | Platinum US$ 1 053.42/OZ UP +2.26% Sport results: LaLiga: Sevilla 1 vs 2 Barcelona | Celta Vigo 2 vs 2 Valencia | Las Palmas 1 vs 1 Deportivo Alaves | Getafe 1 vs 2 Mallorca | Real Madrid 0 vs 0 Real Betis | Almería 6 vs 1 Cadiz | Rayo Vallecano 0 vs 1 Athletic Club | Real Sociedad 0 vs 2 Atletico Madrid | Osasuna 1 vs 1 Villarreal | Girona 7 vs 0 Granada SerieA: SS Lazio 1 vs 1 Sassuolo | Hellas Verona 2 vs 2 Inter Milan | Empoli 2 vs 1 AS Roma | Frosinone 0 vs 1 Udinese | Atalanta 3 vs 0 Torino | Napoli 0 vs 0 Lecce | AC Milan 3 vs 3 Salernitana | Juventus 2 vs 0 Monza | Genoa 2 vs 0 Bologna European Championships Qualifying: Leeds United 0 vs 1 Southampton FA Cup: Manchester City 1 vs 2 Manchester United English Championship: Leeds United 0 vs 1 Southampton Weather: Katima Mulilo: 11° | 30° Rundu: 11° | 30° Eenhana: 13° | 31° Oshakati: 14° | 30° Ruacana: 15° | 31° Tsumeb: 14° | 28° Otjiwarongo: 12° | 27° Omaruru: 14° | 29° Windhoek: 11° | 24° Gobabis: 12° | 25° Henties Bay: 17° | 25° Wind speed: 47km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:38, High tide: 05:37, Low Tide: 00:10, High tide: 18:15 Swakopmund: 16° | 18° Wind speed: 28km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:36, High tide: 05:35, Low Tide: 00:08, High tide: 18:13 Walvis Bay: 16° | 23° Wind speed: 34km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:36, High tide: 05:34, Low Tide: 00:08, High tide: 18:12 Rehoboth: 13° | 26° Mariental: 14° | 28° Keetmanshoop: 15° | 28° Aranos: 14° | 28° Lüderitz: 17° | 33° Ariamsvlei: 15° | 29° Oranjemund: 19° | 31° Luanda: 23° | 27° Gaborone: 11° | 24° Lubumbashi: 10° | 26° Mbabane: 10° | 23° Maseru: 6° | 21° Antananarivo: 9° | 21° Lilongwe: 11° | 26° Maputo: 17° | 27° Windhoek: 11° | 24° Cape Town: 14° | 24° Durban: 14° | 23° Johannesburg: 13° | 20° Dar es Salaam: 22° | 29° Lusaka: 14° | 24° Harare: 10° | 24° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 23.39 | EUR to NAD 19.9 | CNY to NAD 2.53 | USD to NAD 18.34 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.31 | EGP to NAD 0.38 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.68 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.56 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.99 | USD to AOA 851.84 | USD to BWP 13.58 | USD to EGP 47.12 | USD to KES 132.48 | USD to NGN 1474 | USD to ZAR 18.34 | USD to ZMW 26.81 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 79150.84 Up +0.25% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1748.47 Down -0.71% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13370.7 Down -0.04% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27205.14 Down -0.08% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9141.35 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 355.76/OZ UP +0.79% | Copper US$ 4.81/lb UP +1.64% | Zinc US$ 3 077.30/T UP 0.19% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 83.02/BBP UP +0.83% | Platinum US$ 1 053.42/OZ UP +2.26%