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File picture: Pexels

Two suspects to appear in dock after being found in possession of highly endangered pangolin

By African News Agency Time of article published Jul 26, 2020

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Rustenburg - Three suspects, aged 32, 43, and 45, are expected to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday for possession of a highly endangered pangolin, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the North West said.

"The trio’s court appearance follows their apprehension on Thursday, 23 July 2020, after members of the provincial organised crime unit made a follow-up on information about people who wanted to sell a pangolin around Waterfall Mall in Rustenburg," Lt-Col Amanda Funani said in a statement.

According to information received, the police spotted a Silver Ford Figo with Gauteng registration plates in the vicinity of the mall. The car was approached and searched. Consequently, a pangolin, worth about R1.4 million, was found inside the car. All three suspects were arrested and charged with possession of endangered species, Funani said.

North West police commissioner Lt-Gen Sello Kwena applauded the provincial organised crime unit officers for the successful arrests. He also thanked members of the community for their valuable information which led to the arrests.

In an unrelated incident this past week, Equal Siyakhula Zitha, 19, and Kamogelo Makua, 20, were on Thursday, July 23, granted R5000 bail each in the Klerksdorp Magistrates' Court after they were charged with fraud and possession of suspected stolen motor vehicles, Funani said.

The accused were arrested on Tuesday, July 21, in Phola near Ogies in Mpumalanga, after an investigation into fraudulent car deals on Monday, July 20, at a car dealership in Klerksdorp in the North West.

During the arrest, Zitha was found in possession of a Ford Ranger. Further investigation linked Makua to five fraudulent vehicle purchase transactions, including the Ford Ranger found in possession of Zitha, Funani said.

Other transactions were conducted in Vereeniging and Pretoria in Gauteng. It was also established that the format of the salary slips and bank statements used by the suspects were possibly linked to a syndicate operating from Phola.

Several cases were registered of fraudulent transactions between November 2018 and March 2020 in Witbank, Boksburg, Lydenburg, Sandton, Burgersfort, Whiteriver, and Nelspruit. The accused would again appear in court on September 7.

Another enquiry docket was opened after a Toyota Avanza in which Zitha's relatives travelled to attend his court hearing was seized after preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicle was sought for recovery by Wesbank. The car was allegedly bought with similar salary slips and bank statements used to fraudulently purchase vehicles in Klerksdorp, Funani said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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