A Namibian national of Chinese descent made a first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday for dealing in parts of elephants or rhinos as well as for possession of controlled wildlife products.
With Zhi Geng, 37, appeared another Namibian national James Barron Wallace, 47.
It is alleged that Zhi was caught in possession of 1.5kg (27 pieces) of rhino horn valued at N$91 000 without a permit authorising possession or dealing, on February 1 (Monday) near Windhoek.
It is further alleged Zhi and Wallace together were found in possession of 94kg of abalone (perlemoen) valued at N$235 000 without a valid permit during the same operation.
Both were not asked to plead and the matter was postponed to February 23.
Public prosecutor Tatelo Lusepani objected to bail being granted to the accused on the grounds the investigation was still in its infant stage and several witness statements were still outstanding, hence there is a fear the accused may interfere with ongoing police investigations.
Willem Visser who appeared on behalf of Zhi told magistrate Justine Asino that he would consult with his client on the way forward.
A visually frustrated Zhi tried his best to dodge cameras, trying to shield his face with his hands but he later gave up and just sat on the accused’s bench cutting a dejected and forlorn figure.
Norman Tjombe who appeared for Wallace told the court he was caught by surprise by the State’s course of action.
According to him, he and the prosecutor agreed during the morning that his client would plead guilty and the case be dealt with there and then.
However, Wallace informed the court he intended to plead guilty but not on the charges he now faces. He is not sure what the consequences of a guilty plea on the new charges are.
Asino then informed Wallace that since the matter is postponed he will have time to consult with Tjombe on the new charges.
Tjombe also informed the court he will bring a bail application “as soon as is practical” for his client.
[caption id="attachment_83263" align="alignnone" width="195"] In the dock… James Barron Wallace, 47 with his lawyer Norman Tjombe.[/caption] New Era Reporter
2016-02-04 10:20:33 | 4 years ago