A CIVIL servant in the employ of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture was arrested early on Wednesday morning after he attempted to flee from police who was tracking his movements because of his involvement in elephant poaching.
The arrest of the education minister official follows an intricate undercover tracking operation launched by the Namibian Police and officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in the Zambezi Region.
Zambezi Regional Crime Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Evans Simasiku told Informanté in an exclusive interview that the suspect, who is arrested with another man, was transporting 16 pieces of an elephant tusk in a government vehicle.
The ivory pieces, of which the value is still not determined, were allegedly about to be sold before a whistle blower reported the matter to the police.
“We had to track the suspect down and chased him around while he drove 45 kilometres out of Katima Mulilo. The operation was quite hectic with all the dusty roads but we fortunately managed to stop him and he was arrested after he made a u-turn back to to town where he immediately parked the government vehicle and ran off into his private car,” Simasiku said.
According to Simasiku, the two suspects who are due to appear in court tomorrow morning are aged between 40 and 50.
They have since been charged with corruption, illegal possession of protected wildlife products, defeating and obstructing the course of justice.
Deputy Commissioner Simasiku maintained that investigations are ongoing to determine what the poached elephant’s origin is and where the tusk was cut.
Both the state owned vehicle and the second vehicle in which the suspects attempted to flee from police have been confiscated.
“We will further investigate his properties, which possibly came from dirty money and illegal practices. Upon conviction, we expect a heavy sentence. I’d like to caution the public to do away with dirty riches and to warn them that the police are wide awake, with the assistance of law abiding public members,” Simasiku warned.