Rhino horn dealing accused denied bail at Otjiwarongo

The two men aged 33, and 28 years out of the four accused for possession and dealing in rhino horns at Otjiwarongo, were on Wednesday afternoon denied bail by the Otjiwarongo Magistrate's Court.

The bail applicants, Robertos Ipinge and Daniel Hango were arrested together with Timotheus Kazera, 34, and Gideon Gao-Naseb, 36, on 12 August at Otjiwarongo after they were allegedly found with a rhino horn near the Otjozondjupa Regional Council in their luxury sedan vehicles.

Ipinge, Kazera, Hango, and Gao-Naseb already in August made their first appearances in the Otjiwarongo Magistrate's Court.

Ipinge and Hango during last week brought to court a bail application through their private lawyers - Tjitja Harases who defended Ipinge and Samson Enkali for Hango during the bail hearing which ended on Tuesday this week.

The duo explained to Magistrate Karel Muyeghu during the hearing that they want to be released on bail of N.dollars 7 000 for Ipinge and N.dollars 3 000 for Hango so that they return to their workplaces.

Ipinge told court he works for an electricity company at Otjiwarongo, while Hango worked for a government ministry on contract in Windhoek where he was also a student.

However, the control public prosecutor, Obert Masendeke who represented the State in the matter and the police investigation officer, Detective Sergeant Daniel Wilbard teamed up during the bail arguments to oppose to any granting of bail two the accused.

Masendeke said Ipinge and Hango cannot be released on bail even if conditions are attached because they are allegedly bad candidates who can qualify for bail.

Wilbard on his part said the two are part of a syndicate allegedly poaching rhinos for their horns allover this country, therefore, once they are released on bail they will continue to hunt more of these animals.

Masendeke and Wilbard all mentioned to court that it will not be also in the interest of the general public and that of the administration of justice for the two to be out on bail, yet a rhino was killed and its horns removed by these same accused bail applicants.

Wilbard in court said the black rhino which was shot and killed in the area of Omitara where the horn that was found in the accused's possession was valued at more than N.dollars 500 000.

Muyeghu in his ruling on Wednesday said he was convinced that it will not be in the interest of the public and that of administration of justice to release the two accused on bail, while they were found with a freshly sawed off rhino horn during their arrest.

Muyeghu added that there were also three unlicensed firearms and ammunition which were found in the possession of Ipinge and Hango, adding that this evidence is all pointing to the accused, therefore, it is enough to say each of them played a role in this organised crime that resulted in the hunting and killing a black rhino in the Omitara area in the Omaheke Region.

Based on the above findings, your bail application has failed in this court, and you are remanded in custody, Muyeghu told Ipinge and Hango.

Their case was then postponed to 30 September 2019 for further police investigations.

Source: Namibia Press Agency