Suspected rhino poaching mastermind Joseph Nyalunga, has been denied bail.The former police officer, and seven co-accused appeared at the Whiteriver Magistrate Court this morning. Nyalunga is facing 16 counts of dealing in rhino horn and money laundering.
The state argued that if given bail, he could temper with evidence and due to the seriousness of the case, he could miss trial. The state says Nyalungu was arrested for allegedly being involved in rhino poaching, while he was still out on bail for a different case.
Nyalunga was arrested in March this year. He was found in possession of four rhino horns and more than R60 000 in cash. On further investigation, police found more than R5 million in one of his three houses and an automated money counter used by banks to count large sums of money.
A total of 262 rhinos have been lost to illegal killings since the beginning of the year. 173 people have been arrested in connection with rhino poaching.