26 years in prison for Zim national arrested with abalone worth over R8 million

Published Apr 16, 2024


A 35-old-year Zimbabwean national has been sentenced to 26 years in prison by the Lephalale Regional Court, Limpopo, on Thursday for abalone trafficking.

Ngulube Raphael was found with his colleague driving a truck at Grobler’s Bridge Port of Entry in Limpopo loaded with 135 potato bags that were packed with abalone worth more than R8 million in a self-made hidden compartment underneath the loading bin.

The incident occurred in October 2018, when the accused and his partner absconded from the crime scene after being stopped by police.

A case was opened, led by the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation, who discovered that the truck was destined for Zimbabwe via Botswana.

A massive search operation for the suspects was undertaken and Raphael was caught and arrested in 2022 at the same border crossing in an attempt to enter the country illegally without a valid passport.

The accused was taken to Phalala Magistrate’s Court, where the case was then transferred to Lephalale Regional Court for hearing. Raphael remained in custody throughout the trial and pleaded guilty to five counts.

He was handed three years for landing, selling or possession of fish taken, contravening the Marine Living Resource Act 18 of 1988; two years for entering the country without a valid passport; and three years for unlawful acts in relation to registration plates, registration mark or certain documents.

Additionally, Raphael was sentenced to 10 years for money laundering and eight years for failing to declare all goods acquired abroad, or prohibited under law that was into the country. All counts will run concurrently for a total of 26 years’ direct imprisonment. Also, the truck was forfeited to the state.

The acting provincial head of the Hawks in Limpopo, Brigadier Desmond Alexander, applauded the Hawks for their remarkable work on the case.

The Star

[email protected]