Two former Department of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries officials involved in illegally selling back seized abalone to poachers, have been sentenced for corruption and money laundering.
Winston Busch and Nomvuyo Motloung pleaded guilty and were sentenced at the Western Cape High Court on Friday.
Motloung was sentenced to three years for money laundering, corruption and illegal possession of abalone.
Busch was sentenced to five years direct imprisonment for charges related to racketeering, corruption, money laundering and illegal possession of abalone.
Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said the two were among a group of marine inspectors that the Hawks nabbed in 2018 for colluding with a syndicate of poachers by illegally selling back the seized abalone and escorting illegal abalone shipment.
The syndicate, which was apprehend along with the officials, operated in Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hawston, Bredasdorp, Stanford, Pearly Beach and Kuils River.
Twelve of the group have now been sentenced.
“It was reported that on March 5, 2018 members of the Hawks’ Economic Protected Resources assisted by Tactical Response Team members, Special Task Force, Asset Forfeiture Unit as well as members of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment conducted an integrated take-down operation where eighteen targets were arrested and charged,” said Hani.
Other accused officials include Zihle Diko, Craven Siyabulela Mxaku, Linda Nkeleni, John Karelse, Allistair Maans, Adam Baadjies and Rudolph Louw.
Those cited as syndicate members include Richard Malan, Dennis Swartz, Donovan Williams, Eugene Herandien, Courtley May, Solomon Sauls, Frederick Myburgh and Preston Julies.
Three of the original group of suspects died while the matter was on the court roll, while one was killed in a shooting incident in 2019, said Hani.
The charges against two others were withdrawn.