Court convicts wildlife smugglers


Six (6) South Africans and one (1) Zimbabwean arrested by the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) on October 9, 2015, for attempting to smuggle sables to South Africa have by convicted by the Monze Magistrate Court.

The six all adult males, namely: Francoise Petrus Grobler, 24, a wildlife relocator, Stephanus Potgieter, 56, a commercial farmer, Pieter Schalk Glrobler, 32, a wildlife relocator,Peter Burger, 21, a driver, Jan David Potgieter, 31a pilot, Damina Le Roux, 25, a game capturer aged, and Tapera Munyaradzi, 36, general worker, pleaded guilty to all the 13 counts they were charged with.
Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile fined the convicts a total sum amounting to ZMK 200,000.00 in a judgment passed yesterday, December 8, 2015.
She also forfeited to the State all the items that were suspected to have been used in the commission of the offences.
These include an aeroplane, three motor vehicles, horse trailer, a firearm (pistol) with fifty-six rounds of ammunition, dart gun, and various animal capture equipment, including the seven (7) surviving juvenile sable antelopes that are currently being kept in Mundawanga.
Francois Grobler, and six others were found guilty of violating the provisions of the Zambia Wildlife Act, No. 12 of 1998, the Firearms Act, Cap 110, Civil Aviations Act Cap 444, and Immigration and Deportation Act No.18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of offence are that on the 9th day of October, 2015 all the accused persons were intercepted at a bush airstrip inside Kota Kota Game Ranch in Gwembe district of the Southern Province of the Republic of Zambia in possession of 12 live sable antelopes loaded in a horse trailer.
A plane was also on site with its inside modified by way of removing all passenger seats and fixing of cushions on its floor and putting blinds on the windows.
The flight plan did not show or allow them to land at Kota Kota but land at Choma or alternatively Livingstone.
There were also two vehicles on site one of which was used to pull the trailer containing the sables and the other used to work on the airstrip to make it smooth for easy take off by plane.
The stock movement permit as issued by the Lusaka District Veterinary in the name of Dries Scoltz, indicated that the sables were moving from Kyindu ranch in Chongwe to Daraun farm in Livingstone.
It turned out that this does not belong to Dries Scoltz though it’s a business name Dries Scoltz uses in South Africa.
This is according to a statement issued to QFM News by ZAWA Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe.