Valabhji illegal firearms case: Expired grenades disposal completed
The police said that the operation lasted over three hours and was attended by local explosives experts, the judiciary and SDF.
(Seychelles News Agency) - The illegal possession of firearms case involving Mukesh and Laura Valabhji will be heard in two months' time, as the Supreme Court of Seychelles set December 1, 2022, as the date to start the hearing.
In the meantime, the Seychelles Police last weekend disposed of expired grenades that were seized from the initial search operation, which were found among other arms when police searched their home in an anti-corruption operation.
In early July, the Seychelles Supreme Court ordered the destruction of these weapons after police experts deemed that the explosives were becoming a threat due to their deterioration. Seychelles also sought the help of the Kenyan ballistics' experts in the case.
In all, more than 160 grenades were destroyed in Praslin, the second largest island of the archipelago, in the UCPS Pointe Cabri quarry.
According to a police statement, they had to wait for a safe moment to move with the items so that they could be disposed of safely.
The operation lasted over three hours and was attended by local explosives experts, representatives of the judiciary, and the Seychelles Defence Forces.
On 18 November 2021, more than 100 firearms and over 35,000 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the Valabhji home at Morne Blanc.
Five persons have been charged by the Supreme Court. The accused are Mukesh Valabhji, a prominent business and his wife Laura, Leslie Benoiton – a senior officer in the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Leopold Payet - a former chief of the Seychelles People's Defence Forces [the former name of the SDF]- and Frank Marie - retired lieutenant colonel and presidential chief security officer.
All of the accused have been released on bail except for the Valabhji couple. Mukesh Valabji has also been charged in a separate $50 million money laundering case together with Sarah Zarqhani Rene, the wife of former president France Albert Rene.