Lab clerk up for stealing rhino horns

2012-03-01 11:50

Johannesburg - A clerk from the police's forensic laboratory has appeared in the Pretoria District Court in connection with the theft of several rhino horns from a laboratory safe, according to a report on Thursday.

Azarial Shola Matjila, 34, who appeared in court on Wednesday, has denied any wrongdoing.

The horns were originally confiscated from suspected rhino poachers in June 2009, were handed in at the Villieria police station and were later sent to the police laboratory in Pretoria.

When the horns were examined in August 2009, they were found to have been replaced by plaster of paris fakes, Beeld newspaper reported.

During court proceedings, it emerged that the Villieria police station called Warrant Officer Hermanus Joubert, of the Polokwane organised crime unit, on June 2, to collect the rhino horns.

"The Villieria police told us that the horns were fresh, and suggested that we might be able to link the evidence to a crime, if we received reports of any poaching incidents," Joubert told the court.

As it was after hours, Joubert locked the horns into a cupboard in his office, and signed them into the evidence safe the next day, backdating the register to June 2 2009.

  • Irene - 2012-03-01 12:02

    Lock him up. Throw away the key. How disgusting!

      Ian - 2012-03-01 12:37

      This frikkin country is so corrupt!!!!!!!!

      Born - 2012-03-01 13:22

      what happen to innocent until proven guilty Irene?let the prosecution prove their case beyond reasonable doubt,and stil after he is being found guilty the system stil nid to rehabilitate him so that he does not become repetative offender!

      Peter-Peter - 2012-03-01 15:09

      Born...rather shut up

  • Marion - 2012-03-01 12:24

    I smell something fishy here... Think this guy may be being set up.

  • Edward Serfontein - 2012-03-01 12:25

    It doesn't look too good for the rhino. The people who are suppose to help protect and help preserve their kind, is in on the deal as well.

  • Mlungisi Khumalo Lindela - 2012-03-01 12:55

    The police should not hesitate to lock up people who do these kind of things,then South Africa might just become a better country

  • Gavin - 2012-03-01 14:48

    Ok, so we catch the f'ers and the cops then put the merchandise back into circulation ?????? F me freddy, are there no honest people left in law enforcement ?

  • tshepokealogile - 2012-03-01 20:07

    Why did Joubert had to backdate SAP 13 booking in entry? Why in the first place he had to keep it in his office while the SAP 13 register is kept 24hrs in the Client Service Centre?

  • Holden - 2012-03-02 10:16

    Why am I not surprised?

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