Middelburg - A former police officer accused of being a rhino poaching kingpin appeared in the Middelburg Regional Court in Mpumalanga on Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

Joseph Nyalunga would be back in court on May 26 as the regional court president did not rule on the transfer of the matter to another court, spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

On Monday, the defence brought an application to transfer the matter to another court in the Lowveld, possibly Nelspruit, Mncube said.

The regional court president did not rule on the matter on Tuesday and the court ruled that the trial must start on May 26.

“If case is to be transferred, it can happen after 26 May,” said Mncube.

“The court has to wait for the ruling of the regional court president,” he said.

Nyalunga, who was released on R30 000 bail on Monday, and another alleged poacher Conrad Nkuna, were arrested in December 2011 while returning from Mpumalanga to Gauteng, Mncube said at the time.

Proceeds of illegal rhino poaching amounting to R8.1 million was seized at the time of the arrest.

The money was found in their Range Rover when they were stopped and searched by police near Middelburg.

Apart from the R8.1 million, the 2009 Range Rover and a 2009 Toyota Fortuner were also seized.

“These vehicles will be sold and the proceeds thereof will also be paid to the ECIU(SANParks's Environmental Crime Investigation Unit),” Mncube said at the time.