Six South Africans and a Zimbabwean plead guilty to wildlife theft

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The Suspects under custody
The Suspects under custody

Six South Africans and a Zimbabwean national have pleaded guilty after they were arrested in Monze for attempting to smuggle 12 sables into South Africa.

Zambia Wildlife Authority Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe who confirmed the development said the six have been fined K200, 000 and convicted for all thirteen counts which include unlawful possession of prohibited articles namely wildlife and being in possession of ammunitions among other charges.

The seven were arrested in October after ZAWA officers smashed an alleged endangered wildlife smuggling syndicate and seized a specially equipped light aircraft, vehicles, weapons and veterinary drugs.

In October , ZAWA officers smashed an alleged endangered wildlife smuggling syndicate, arresting the six South Africans and seizing a specially equipped light aircraft, vehicles, weapons and veterinary drugs.

The men detained included hunters and game capturers from Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and North West.

They were arrested in a military operation in southern province near Lake Kariba.

Zambian air force personnel and ZAWA officers arrested the six South Africans and a Zimbabwean as they were allegedly off-loading 12 sable antelope calves from a trailer and preparing to put them into a Piper Navajo Chieftain aircraft, parked under trees near a dirt landing strip in the bush.

Each of the animals can be sold for about $1-million.

The suspects who were nabbed at Katokota airstrip in Gwembe include six South African national and one Zimbabwean.

One of the suspects was identified as Francial, a wildlife relocator who said he had come to Zambia to search for greener pastures. The suspect said at the time that they were moving the animals from Lusaka to a ranch in Livingstone, but ZAWA officers suspected there was some anomaly in the reason given. Francial said he didn’t know the place he was taking the animals to, he just knew the source herein being Swanvest, at Kyindu Farms. They had an animal movement permit which had some inconsistencies.

Other suspects include Damia Leroux, a driver aged 25 of age. The other is Peter Burger, also driver who said he had no idea where the animals were going but they know where the animals were coming from. Peter Schalk Grobler 32, the manager, said that he just knew Yaku from Swanvest, where the animals were coming from and did not know the place he was taking the animals to.

Munyaradzi Tapera, 36, general worker from Zimbabwe said he had no idea and was working under instructions.

The animals were delivered and released into Munda Wanga sanctuary for observation and rehabilitation. However, five antelopes had died due to stress.

11 COMMENTS

  1. If it was Zambian countrymen arrested for the same crime they would have been locked up in Mukobeko prison by now.

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    • True and the animals should not have been locked up too. that’s why they died. No food for them at Mundawanga. they should have been released back into wild. Even though conditions are stressful in the wild, its more stressful to wait for food from the PF government. Munda wanga is animal UTH. Bye Bye Babay

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  2. GRZ please be serious about these things mwebantu, what is K200,000 that these thieves are requested to pay? This is peanuts guys if one Sable Antelope haa to be sold at $1,000,000. Please be real pipo iyeeee, Zambia sure, twasebana!

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  3. None of these rubbish have 200000 so they will rot in jail which is what they deserve, the ring leaders will get off as will the owner of Kota kota game farm where this happened in Kariba, seize the plane, car and horse float and return kota kota game farm back to the GRZ.

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  4. Great job in apprehending these thugs. Make sure to mete out the punishment to the fullest extent of the law. If you go soft on them, it will only encourage other crooks into invading our country and committing these crimes.
    If they want to do stuff like this, South Africa and Zimbabwe have animals too. So why are they coming to Zambia? Or they think Zambians are dumb and stupid and will not know what’s going on? I say lock them up for a long time.

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    • Precisely, if they knew Zedians weren’t Dumb & Stu..pid, they wouldn’t have ventured thus far!!!

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  5. I have always said these white Zimbabweans and White South Africans are a danger to Zambia, why were they with so many firearms? If they can perform such a clandestine operation what is there to say they couldnt do the same thing as a way to start confusion in the nation (heaven forbid). Lock these imperialist rubbish away for 50 years because that is what they deserve. The white farmers that are flocking to Zambia en masse are equally here on dubious missions, we are not scrutinizing these thugs enough and we seem to be more strict with ourselves in issuing permits etc than these white devils. I once visited a govt office for a permit and some useless bugas interrupted my visit only to see this hopeless govt office worker stand up for these boers and yet I was already there discussing…

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  6. The fine given to these thugs is far too lean, count the value of number of animals that died because of them. The judge must be investigated. Believe it or not itd not even their first count animal theft. There government must appeal for heavier sentence.

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  7. It can’t be ! The judge is a joke. Probe the judge. At least a million dollar fine would be understandable. Believe it or not they have already stolen more than a billion worth of our animals.

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  8. ba ZAWA what is K200,000=00
    Foolish……
    Charge these thieves from South Africa ,
    3million dollar each thief full stop.

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  9. These south african thieves must be charged 3 million dallars each
    Its like its been a long time business.
    Ba ZAWA k200,000=00 is nothing .

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