Gaborone - Namibian Airports Company (NAC) Chief Executive Officer Tamer el Kallawi says the rhino horns which were smuggled through Hosea Kutako International Airport to Johannesburg by a Chinese man were visible “even to an untrained eye” in the CCTV footage of his passage through the airport.
Airport authorities are now investigating how 28-year-old Yi Zhuwei slipped through the airport security checks to board a flight to Johannesburg where he was arrested, leading to the discovery of horns stashed in a suitcase.
In an interview with the “Namibian”, Kallawi said that following the arrest of Zhuwei in Johannesburg last week, they re-examined the CCTV footage of his transit and were surprised to realise that clear images of all the 18 rhino horns were captured by the security cameras. He said they should have been visible to the inspectors.
“We could see the image of the rhino horns in the video footage. It was so clear, even an untrained eye can see it. It is very disturbing and disappointing, but we will only be able to pronounce ourselves clearly once the ongoing investigations are complete,” Kallawi said.
Kallawi said until the investigation was concluded, he could not say if the rhino horn trafficker was working in cahoots with some airport or security officials. However, he said it was the sole duty of the Namibian police to monitor and prevent the smuggling of contraband through the airports.
On Friday, Zhuwei appeared at a magistrates court in Johannesburg on charges of trafficking in rhino horns and was remanded in custody. He is due to return to court in the course of this week.