Hike sentence

Heavy punishment as preacher admits rhino poaching

preacher and convicted rhino poacher Jackson Babi faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years, which would increase to 27 years if he does not pay the fines also imposed on him, after pleading guilty to 11 counts of indictment before the regional court of Gobabis.

On Friday, Magistrate Eden Iyambo sentenced Babi to an effective 10-year prison term as well as fines totaling N$370,000 or additional prison terms totaling 17 years.

Babi (32) was sentenced after pleading guilty on eleven counts on Monday last week.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawfully hunting specially protected game, two counts of theft, unlawfully supplying a firearm and ammunition to persons, two counts of accusation of money laundering and charges of racketeering, possession of rhinoceros horns and bribery.

Babi has been detained since his arrest after two rhino horns were found in his house in Windhoek in May 2020.

Along with his pleas to the charges, Babi admitted to being involved in the poaching of a rhino cow and calf from a farm in Gobabis district on May 21 and 22, 2020.

He also admitted to being involved in stealing the horns of the two rhinos after the animals were illegally killed and providing a shotgun and ammunition to five men who had been accused of him.

Babi further admitted that he was guilty of racketeering and acquiring the stolen horns of the two poached rhinos and was in possession of two rhino horns at his home in Windhoek between May 23-27, 2020.

Regarding the corruption charge he was facing, Babi admitted to offering a N$13,000 bribe to a police officer in June 2020, with the aim of getting the officer to facilitate his release. under caution.

The magistrate sentenced Babi to direct prison terms of three years, plus a fine of N$100,000 or two years’ imprisonment, for each of the two counts of unlawful hunting of specially protected game.

On each of the two counts of stealing rhino horns, Babi was sentenced to two years in prison.

The magistrate also sentenced him to fines totaling N$170,000, a combined 13 years’ imprisonment, for the remaining charges, and declared Babi unfit to possess a firearm. fire for a period of four years after his release from prison.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Tourism welcomed the sentences handed down by the magistrate.

“We consider that it is proportionate to the nature of the offenses committed. We hope it will also serve as a deterrent to those who intend to commit similar crimes,” ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda said in a statement after the sentencing.

Babi was represented by defense lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji.

Attorney General Marchell Hoëb represented the state.