Two Mpumalanga police officers, suspected of being linked to a rhino poaching syndicate, are scheduled to apply for bail on Wednesday.
Const Conrad Nkuna (36) and former WO Joseph Nyalungu (48) were remanded in custody when they appeared in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court last week after being arrested in connection with the possession of an unexplained R3m cash.
They were arrested last Monday when members of the Middelburg Flying Squad stopped their car during a routine police check on the N4 and found cash stashed in the boot and evidence of animal remains.
“The Flying Squad members discovered that the car had over R3m stashed in the boot but the occupants could not account for the loot,” provincial police spokesperson Lt-Col Leonard Hlathi said.
Hlathi said members of the Flying Squad searched the vehicle for further evidence.
“This led to trails of animal genetic material which has been sent to a forensic lab for DNA testing,” he said. “Police suspect that the duo might be part of a rhino horn syndicate.”
The suspects were arrested and their vehicle confiscated.
Hlathi said the two men were charged with corruption and money laundering.
Meanwhile, Kruger National Park spokesperson William Mabasa said that more than 25 rhinos had been poached during the most recent full- moon period.
Mabasa said the poachers took advantage of the full moon to light their way.
The incidents have raised the number of rhinos poached this year from 405 to 431 nationwide. – AENS