A BUSINESSMAN whose wildlife crimes case was struck off the court list last week has been summoned to return to Windhoek Regional Court in November on the same charges.
The police file on the case in which Chinese businessman Hou Xuecheng and a Namibian co-defendant, Hamutenja Stanislaus Hamutenya, were charged with wildlife crimes has not disappeared, a daily newspaper from the Attorney General’s Office reported late last week, a media release said yesterday.
The Office said the files in Hou and Hamutenya’s case are still with the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura, while the case has been referred to a special regional court dealing with backlogs, which sits at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court under Judge JP Karuaihe Street.
The attorney general’s office was investigating after a judge struck the case from the court list Thursday last week and has issued subpoenas to recall Hou and Hamutenya from court on the charges they face, the agency said in its statement.
Hou and Hamutenya are scheduled to appear in court again on November 7.
Magistrate Leopold Hangalo denied a state request to delay the two men’s case after being told the police file on the matter was not before the court, that no state witnesses had been summoned and that the state was not in the She was able to decide whether she could request that the case of Hou and Hamutenya be separated from the case of two co-defendants who fled after being released on bail.
The Prosecutor General’s Office also announced that the reason for the non-timely delivery of the file to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Special Regional Court is being investigated internally.
Hou, 46, and Hamutenya, 42, have been charged with one count of trafficking in controlled wildlife products and two counts of possession of controlled wildlife products.
They were originally charged with three co-defendants – a Chinese national Sha Zhiwei, Indian national Rajaiyah Kumar and a Namibian national George Mashala – but Sha and Kumar escaped after being released on bail in September 2014, and Mashala died in court informed throughout 2020.
The state claimed the five men illegally traded four elephant tusks in Windhoek on June 11, 2014.
The state also claimed that Hou, Sha and Kumar illegally owned a cheetah skin and a leopard skin on June 12, 2014 in Windhoek.
Following his arrest on these charges, Hou was granted bail of N$30,000 in late July 2014.
He was arrested again in October 2014 and charged with possession of controlled wildlife products after a pangolin skin, a leopard’s head and seven zebra skins were allegedly found in his possession at the China Town shopping complex in Windhoek.
Hou was released on N$100,000 bail after his second arrest.