SIX South Africans and one Zimbabwean, all incarcerated for allegedly attempting to smuggle wildlife out of Zambia, have been orded to pay K30,000 cash bail each by the Lusaka High Court.
Francois Petrus Globler, Stephanus Potgieter, Pieter Schalk Globler, Piete Burger, Jan David Potgieter, Damian Le Roux and Tapela Munyaradzi are facing 12 counts of unlawful possession of prohibited articles, unlawful possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of live protected animals.
They were further charged with attempting to export live protected animals, six counts of making false statements to immigration officials and failure to obey flight rules of the air regulations.
All the incidents happened between September and October this year in Southern Province.
Judge Chalwe Mchenga also ordered them to provide a surety in the like sum, but in their own recognisance and that the sureties should be under the employment of reputable organisations and should be permanent residents of Monze.
Mr Justice Mchenga further ordered the seven to surrender their passports to the clerk of the court.
The seven who had applied for bail in the Lusaka High Court submitted that they were South Africans and Zimbabwean, who were incarcerated at Monze Central Police Station but were relocated to a facility managed by the Zambia Prison Service.
The seven, who filed in six different affidavits submitted that on October 9 this year, they were arrested and charged with three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of live protected animals.
They said that on October 14 they appeared in the Monze magistrates’ court for plea after which they applied for bail pending trial whose ruling was reserved for the following day.
The seven submitted that magistrate Pumulo Mubita, who was handling their case, admitted them to bail upon providing one working surety, surrender of their passports and payment of K30,000 in cash.
They said that on October 16 this year they satisfied their bail conditions and were released, but on October 22, the prosecution case listed the matter before another magistrate who declined to hear the matter on account that the presiding court was out of jurisdiction.
The seven said that on October 28, the State amended the indictment to include nine fresh charges, but the accused still pleaded not guilty to all of them.
They said that after they took plea in the 12 counts, the court revoked their bail on grounds that it only granted them bail because they were only charged with three counts.
Immediately after revoking bail, the magistrate recused herself saying the matter would be allocated to another magistrate.
It was for this reason that they applied for bail in the Lusaka High Court, arguing that they were not flight risks as their passports were currently in the custody and possession of the clerk of court at Monze.
They pledged to faithfully continue to obey all lawful conditions that the court would impose on them.