By Adam Hartman – the Namibian
THREE men arrested earlier this month for the possession of two elephants tusks, with the intention of selling them, were granted bail of N$30 000 each by the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Dirk Vermeulen (50), Edgar Clarke (41) and Michael Lusse (60) were represented by Nathan Knittle, Jan Wessels and Petrus Strausss respectively.
Prosecutor Tuihaleni Hilikuete opposed bail on grounds that possession and dealing in ivory was a very serious offence, especially considering Namibia’s strict conservation of protected wildlife resources, and in light of the ongoing threat to rhinos and elephants from poachers and international smugglers.
It was also for this reason, she argued that, the offence attracts significant public interest, and that the issue is often a hot topic in the media.
The third reason she cited for opposing bail was the fear that the three may interfere with the investigation, or with witnesses.
After hearing the testimony of the three accused, the investigation officer, and arguments from both the state and defence, magistrate John Sindano ruled that Vermeulen, Clarke and Lusse were “suitable candidates for bail”.