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Rhino horn smuggling - Twelve in court

Twelve people suspected to be involved in a rhino horn smuggling ring including old and current members of the police force and Vietnamese nationals appeared in the Middelburg court on Thursday.

22 November 2012 | Jana Boshoff

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Joseph Nyalungu (48) ex-policeman and constable Conrad Nkuna (37) were arrested in December 2011 near Middelburg and found in possession of cash amounting to R3 million. Traces of animal remains were also found in the Range Rover they were travelling in.

Upon investigation the list of accused has since grown to 12, including a Vietnamese couple.

According to a press release from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) one of the DNA samples taken from the Range Rover matched that of a white rhino bull killed in the Kruger National Park early in December 2011.

The money along with a Range Rover and Toyota Fortuner that belonged to Nyalungu was formally seized by the NPA.

The assets seized from Nyalungu, described as the ring leader, will be used in the fight against rhino poaching.

Nyalungu and Nkuna together with Mozambican nationals Daniel Timothy Mnclube (44) David Siganque (29), Calisto Massoda (26), Zeka Santos (31), Checo Cossa (37) and Sam Mashaba (26), South African Happy Sello Zitha (37) and Vietnamese nationals Lan Anh Nguyen (28) and Pham Ngoc Cuong will appear in court again in April 2013.

The state has declared the case trial ready.

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