The United States of America appeals from two orders of the United States District Courtfor the Southern District of New York whichdenied its applications for a restitution award in favor of the Republic of South Africa, pursuant to, first, the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 (MVRA),and second, the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982(VWPA). The Appeals Court ruled that South Africa: (1) has a property interest in rock lobsters unlawfully harvested from its waters, and (2) is a victim, as defined by the MVRA and VWPA, eligible to receive restitution. Accordingly, the Appeals Court said, "restitution is owed to South Africa."
The case involves the fact that from 1987 to 2001, Arnold Bengis, Jeffrey Noll and David Bengis (defendants) engaged in an elaborate scheme to illegally harvest large quantities of South Coast and West Coast rock lobsters in South African waters for export to the United States in violation of both South African and U.S. law. The district court heldthat South Africa had no property interest in either the lobsters that the defendants took from South African waters; that the governmentfailed to prove that the illegally harvested lobsters were the property of South Africa; and finally thateven if restitution was permissible as a matter of law, "the complication and prolonging of the sentencing process resulting from the fashioning of the order of restitution under this section would outweigh the need to provide restitution to the Republic of South Africa."
The Appeals Court reversed and remanded the district court orders and said, "?we hold that South Africa: (1) has a property interest in rock lobsters unlawfully harvested from its waters, (2) is a victim for restitution purposes, as defined by the MVRA and VWPA, and (3) whatever the complexity in fashioning a restitution order in this case, it is insufficient to preclude entry of suchan order under the MVRA. Accordingly, the judgments of the district court are vacated and the case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."
On the 14th day of February 2012 at about 20:30 hrs, the accused was arrested by the police upon information that the accused was in possession of government trophies, his house was searched, in a blue plastic bag inside his briefcase a dry skin of a cheetah was found, he was then arrested and taken to court. The accused was convicted.
On 06/09/2010 at 20:00 hours the park rangers while on patrol at Muchuri area within Ikorongo/Grumeti Game Reserve, they saw torch lights and decided to make follow ups, they succeeded in arresting one person in possession of one killed Thomson Gazelle, one knife and the torch. He was arrested and taken to Mugumu Police station. The case lasted for three years from the date it was instituted to the date of the judgment. The accused was convicted on the first and second counts and acquitted on the third count.
On 08/06/12 at 18:00 hours while park rangers of SENAPA were on patrol around Nyanderema area within SENAPA, they saw people hidden in the bush. They surrounded the bush and successfully arrested them. When they were searched they were found in possession of one panga, two knives, and five snares plus, three pieces of fresh wildebeest meat and two skins of the wildebeest. On interrogations they were asked if they had permit, they both didn’t have. The accused states that they had entered SENAPA to bring back their cattles that had entered the park. They were then arrested and taken to Mugumu police station. The case lasted for two years from the date it was instituted to the date of the judgment. The accused persons were convicted on the first and second counts and acquitted on the third count.
On 5/10/2012 at 17 hours when park rangers at Grummet area within SENAPA were on patrol, they saw a person hidden in the bush and successfully arrested him, they found him having two knives and a snare, four pieces of dried meat of the wildebeest, and one skin of the zebra. He was then taken to Mugumu police station. The case lasted for two years from the date it was instituted to the date of the judgment. The accused was convicted on the first and second counts and acquitted on the third count.
On 08/08/2008, while park rangers were on patrol they saw the accused persons seated in the bush. They were found in possession of one panga, three knives, three pieces of dried meat of wildebeest, one dried skin of hartebeest and one dried skin of swala impala, on interrogations they admitted to have no permit, they were then arrested. The accused persons were convicted.
On 14/03/2012 at 17:00 hours while on patrol at Rubanda area within SENAPA, they received information from a secret informant that, there was a person in the village (Machengere) selling wild animal’s meat. They were directed where to find that person, he was caught drying dik-dik’s meat. They arrested him and took him to Mugumu Police station. The case lasted for two years from the date it was instituted to the date of the judgment. The accused was convicted.
On 27/11/2012, the four accused person were arrested in Robo area within SENAPA in possession of weapons and government trophies, namely: two bows, 38 arrows, three knives, and five trapping wires, 10 pieces of wildebeest dry meat and two tails of wildebeest. The case was dismissed under section 225(%) of the Criminal Procedure Act.
On 10/09/2010 at 13:00 hours the SENAPA park rangers while on patrol at Sonzo area within the national park. They saw carnivore birds roaming around a certain tree, when they made follow-ups they found wires set across the trees to trap animals. They then abruptly saw three men running away, they succeeded in arresting two of them. They were caught also in possession of one knife, one spear and three animal trapping wires, also with one piece of dry meat and one piece of dry skin of wildebeest. The accused were convicted on the first and second counts and acquitted on the third count.