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Former Government Officials Jailed for Abalone Poaching Syndicate Involvement

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Hawks, South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, confirmed the sentencing of two former government officials to five years in prison in connection with an illicit abalone trade on Saturday. They were charged with corruption, racketeering, and illegal possession of abalone, a serious blow to wildlife crimes in the country.

Winston Mervin Busch and Nomvuyo Concellia Motloung were among the 18 suspects that were arrested in 2018 for their links to an illegal abalone poaching syndicate. They participated in a network that stretched across Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hawston, Bredasdorp, Stanford, Pearly Beach, and Kuilsriver, all in the Western Cape. Busch and Motloung's counterparts included marine inspectors from the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and other members of the poaching syndicate.

Their notorious activities included escorting illegal abalone and selling poached abalone to poachers. Busch and Motloung were handed an additional suspended sentence for their count of money laundering. The convicts pleaded guilty to the charges on the previous Friday.

The Hawks further report that twelve of the original suspects have now been sentenced. But the syndicate's number has dwindled as three died while awaiting trial, and another was shot dead in 2019. The Hawks also noted that charges against two others were withdrawn.

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