Cape Town - Nine marine inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have been arrested for alleged involvement in an abalone-poaching syndicate, the Hawks said on Tuesday.
A multi-disciplinary team, led by the Hawks, arrested the nine civil servants and 10 others, following investigations.
"DAFF officials allegedly aided abalone poachers by selling back abalone seized during their daily routine, and were further escorting illegal abalone shipments," Hawks spokesperson Philani Nkwalane said.
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The alleged syndicate operated in Gansbaai, Hermanus, Hawston, Bredasdorp, Stanford, Pearly Beach and Kuilsriver.
During the arrests, an undisclosed amount of cash and an illegal firearm were recovered.
"They face an assortment of charges, ranging from corruption, defeating the ends of justice and racketeering," Nkwalane said.
Hawks acting national head Lieutenant General Yoliswa Matakata, welcomed the arrests.
"We sincerely hope that this arrest will send a shock wave to all civil servants to refrain from corrupt activities," she said.
The suspects are to appear in the Hermanus Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
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