Nine marine inspectors from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have appeared at the Hermanus Magistrate‘s Court for alleged involvement in an abalone-poaching syndicate.
The inspectors are Zihle Diko, Winston Mervin Busch, Craven Siyabulela Mxaku, Linda Nkeleni, John Karelse, Allistair Maans, Nomvuyo Concellia Motloung, Adam Baadjies and Rudolph Louw.
The nine appeared in court along with eight abalone syndicate members on Wednesday facing charges ranging from racketeering, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
The alleged syndicate members are Richard George Malan, Dennis John Swartz, Donovan Williams, Eugene Herandien, Courtley May, Solomon Sauls, Frederick Myburgh and Preston Julies.
The alleged syndicate operated in Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hawston, Bredasdorp, Stanford, Pearly Beach and Kuilsriver.
The multi-disciplinary team, led by the Hawks, arrested the group following investigations.
“The DAFF officials allegedly colluded with abalone poachers by illegally selling back the seized abalone and escorting illegal abalone shipment,” the Hawks said.
The case against all suspects was remanded to 14 March 2018 for the bail application, suspects remain in custody and more arrests are imminent as the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, a 57-year-old suspect appeared before Parys Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after he was arrested in a joint operation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation Unit and Tactical Support Unit for extortion and impersonating a police officer on Tuesday.
The suspect allegedly approached a well-known businessman and the Executive Mayor of Parys, alleging that he had been instructed by the Acting National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata and her team to launch an investigation of dealing in narcotics, and firearms against the said businessman, the Mayor and Secretary General of ANC Ace Magashule.
The suspect demanded R50 000, bribe, in exchange for stalling the said investigation. He was arrested following an entrapment operation after receiving the said cash.