‘500 fewer sea cucumbers seized on Charitha’-• SFA says officers bloated number by error


06-March-2013

We have been quoting the agency as saying that “upon inspecting the vessel, Seychelles Fishing Authority enforcement officers, in the presence of the skipper of Charitha, the police and NDEA officers counted a total of 1,562 sea cucumbers which on the local market could fetch an estimated R180,000”.

Last week we contacted the SFA’s principal enforcement officer Sonny Naiken who said he did not have authority to speak about the possible sale of the sea cucumbers which were court exhibits that needed to be sold being perishable.

The SFA’s chief executive Finley Racombo – who was in a meeting when we called – later called Nation and said “the sea cucumbers found on the vessel were sold through the normal procedures and fetched a bit more than the earlier estimated R180,000”, giving the figure at about R187,000.

“We have put the money in a special account and the court will decide what should be done with it once the case is over,” said Mr Racombo at the time, adding the police took pictures of the cucumbers which were bought by one of the three companies that process them locally.

Yesterday, however, Mr Naiken called to say in Mr Racombo’s absence, he had been authorised to inform there had been a mistake when recording the number of sea cucumbers.
“The ‘0’ in 1,062 appeared like a ‘5’ so there were in fact 1,062 and not 1,562 sea cucumbers, and they fetched R89,225.

Yesterday the NDEA said the sea cucumber aspect of the case has all along been handled by the authority and they got the 1,562 figure in the agency’s press release from them.

Nine men including the owner of the fishing boat have been charged with 14 offences including drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms and turtle meat and fishing for sea cucumber without a licence.

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