Officials implicated in abalone poaching

Some Fisheries Department employees have been implicated in abalone poaching rings and corruption.

R12m worth of abalone was seized from a Tableview home. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Some employees at Fisheries Department have been implicated in abalone poaching rings and corruption, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson confirmed on Wednesday.

She told Parliament that a high-level investigation has been launched.

The minister would not reveal the exact details, but she did say it involved the allocation of quotas and permits.

Joemat-Pettersson said recent arrests seen in the Cape are the results of coordinated efforts by various authorities.

She said these probes reveled corruption within the department.

Last week, a Chinese national was arrested after police discovered abalone worth R12 million at his Sunset Beach home.

The minister said it had not been an easy exercise, adding some of the investigators received death threats.

An auditing firm will now do a forensic investigation into the matter.