A police sergeant class two has been arrested following investigations on why and how the security personnel at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) allowed 28-year-old Zhiwei Ye, a Chinese national, to board a plane to Hong Kong, via Johannesburg, while rhino horns were detected in his luggage.
Namibian Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi told New Era yesterday upon enquiry that a police officer was arrested on Monday at around 18h00 at Hosea Kutako International Airport where he is stationed.
The police officer, only identified as Abraham P. Iitula, 42, was arrested and he was charged for defeating and obstructing the course of justice.
He appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday where he was granted bail of N$2000 which he promptly paid.
His case was postponed to February 3, 2017. Kanguatjivi said investigations continue in the matter.
In a damning revelation by the Namibian Airports Company (NAC), the airport scanner detected the rhino horns but security personnel appeared to have allowed the passenger to board the plane in a case that has embarrassed police bigwigs.
“The NAC can confirm the incident and after engagement with our stakeholders in the matter, it has been confirmed that the passenger was in transit at HKIA and investigations have also revealed that the illegal rhino horns were detected by the scanners in the passenger transit screening area. To this end, follow-up investigations are underway to determine why and how the passenger was allowed to proceed,” revealed NAC marketing officer Dan Kamati on Friday.
A Chinese national managed to smuggle 18 rhino horns, weighing 43 kilogrammes, through a tight security checkpoint last week Wednesday at Hosea Kutako International Airport, only to be arrested hours later at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The South African Police confirmed last week Thursday that a Chinese national was arrested at OR Tambo Airport after rhino horns worth more than R6.6 million were found in his luggage.
It is not known at this stage whether the 18 horns are related to the seven fresh rhino carcasses believed to have been poached this month at Etosha National Park, which is supposed to be heavily guarded by armed police officers.