The consignment of rhino horn was destined for Malaysia. File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
The consignment of rhino horn was destined for Malaysia. File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Alleged rhino horn smuggler remanded in custody

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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Pretoria – The Kempton Park Regional Court has remanded 36-year-old Kelvin Chigwede in custody on a charge of illegal dealing in rhino horns, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Tuesday.

“In December last year, Hawks’ serious organised crime (unit) in Germiston, Benoni SAPS and the South African National Parks (SANParks) followed up on intelligence regarding a consignment declared as chicken food mixture packaged in a blue geyser at a warehouse in Kempton Park, containing rhino horns weighing about 72.4 kilograms,” said Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu.

“It is alleged that the consignment was intercepted by authorities after being dropped off at a warehouse on the same day. During an investigation, it was discovered that it was destined for Malaysia.”

Mulamu said that on Saturday further investigation led authorities to a residence in Benoni where a search warrant was executed.

“Upon searching the premises, authorities found about half a million rand in cash and it was seized for investigation purposes since it is suspected to be the proceeds of illegal dealings,” she said.

“Chigwede was arrested immediately and charged for illegal dealing in rhino horns and contravention of the National Environmental Biodiversity Act (NEMBA). The case was postponed to 26 January 2021 for a formal bail application.”

Meanwhile, a 42-year-old shipping agent who was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport last year appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of dealing in rhino horn and perjury.

“On Monday (July 13), customs officials seized a consignment of rhino horn destined for Malaysia, which was marked and declared as scaffolding equipment,” said Mulamu at the time.

“Upon searching the load, authorities discovered rhino horn weighing about 47 kilograms worth approximately R3 million concealed in cardboard boxes stashed inside crates.

"Further investigations by the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation team led them to a shipping agent in Edenvale, where the suspect was arrested and charged for illegal dealing in rhino horns and perjury.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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