Rhino horn probe completed

WINDHOEK, Police investigations have been finalised into the case of three men who stand accused of having been found in illegal possession of wildlife products earlier this year.

The suspects, Kisting Sigi Siegfried, 42, Daniel Jose, 38, and Joao Alfonso, 57, are charged with one count of illegal possession of controlled wildlife products.

Making an appearance on bail in Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Monday before Magistrate Venessa Stanley, Siegfried and his co-accused were informed investigations into their case have been completed.

According to the prosecution, since the value of the products involved is in excess of N$300 000, the group will have to take a preliminary plea to the charge.

Sigi and his co-accused were arrested on March 5, after they were found in possession of a rhino horn with an estimated value of N$344 000 in Windhoek West. The prosecution is alleging that Siegfried and his co-accused had no permit authorising them to be in possession of such wildlife product.

The accused persons have been free after the court granted each of them bail of N$20 000. During the court proceedings, Alfonso's defence attorney Cliff Simataa made an application to have his client's reporting conditions amended.

We ask that the passport be returned to the accused should he need to travel, said Simataa. State prosecutor Rowan van Wyk responded by stating, according to the agreement with the police, the passports will remain with the police and will only be returned to the accused at the time they require them.

As conditions of their release, the three were ordered to surrender all travelling documents to the investigative officer dealing with the case.

The trio is expected to tender their preliminary pleas on July 27. They were represented by local defence attorneys Cliff Simataa, Immanuel Udjombala and Festus Hamukwaya respectively.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia