The Hawks’ Priority Crime Specialised Investigation (PCSI) has dealt a major blow to the illicit abalone poaching syndicate that operated in various premises in the Western Cape and Gauteng province.
“This is after the Cape Town High Court issued a final forfeiture order of R2 000 000 each against the Michael Norman (34) and David Michael Bannister (48) on 4 February 2019,” said Hawks spokesperson, Captain Philani Nkwalase.
“They were the kingpins that recruited, managed and directed the enterprise of an illicit abalone poaching syndicate.”
Suspects pleaded guilty to abalone poaching charges
He added that the two were among the ten suspects, who pleaded guilty on various charges that included Racketeering, Money Laundering linked to a syndicate that operated illicit Abalone facilities.
“A farm worth R5 million, purchased with proceeds of crime was sold on auction following the Cape Town High Court asset forfeiture order in December 2016,” Capt Nkwalase said.
“Consequently, the duo along with five other was sentenced on 14 December 2018 by the Cape Town High Court.
“Three others later pleaded guilty and were sentenced by the same court on all the charges on 14 February 2019.”
Capt Nkwalase said that these various charges related to the illicit abalone poaching were wholly suspended for five years with stringent conditions.