The name of Saadi Gaddafi, 38 – now in Niger after fleeing Libya last year – is on an official list of nearly 200 hunters granted permits to shoot rhino in North West over the past three years.
Saadi, a former commander of Libya’s special forces, a businessman and a soccer player in Italy, is also the subject of an Interpol “red notice”.
Records released by North West’s Department of Environment, Conservation and Tourism record that “Saadi M Gadhafi” was issued a permit to hunt rhino in the Bojanalo district in May 2009.
The Standard newspaper in Nairobi reported that Saadi had visited the Masai Mara reserve in 2009 and “threw a tantrum” when the Kenya Wildlife Services refused to allow him to hunt.
Nick Kaufman, an attorney from Jerusalem who has been hired by the Gaddafi family to push for an investigation into the killing of Muammar Gaddafi, has declined to confirm whether Saadi took part in a South African hunt, or whether he had an interest in hunting.
Kaufman told The Mercury that since Saadi’s alleged involvement was part of a legally sanctioned hunt, he did not see the need to ask him about the matter.
“Of course, I do not belittle the matters mentioned in your mail,” he said.
“Respect for the environment and international treaties is something very important to me.”
Tebogo Modise, the North West MEC for environmental affairs, and her departmental director, Lebo Diale, also failed to respond to queries requesting details of the nationality and date of birth of the “Saadi M Gadhafi” listed in the hunting records.
Saadi was once the captain of the Libyan national football team, president of the Libyan Football Federation and also had a brief stint as a player for the Italian soccer club Udinese in 2005.
Wikipedia records that he had several business interests, including state-owned oil refining and marketing.
Local businessman Charl Senekal, who met Saadi at a function in Pretoria five years ago, said he did not know whether Saadi had had an interest in hunting but remembered him as a ”regular visitor” to SA.
Senekal said he had also entertained Muammar Gaddafi briefly at his game farm near Mkuze in 2006, and had been invited by the Libyan leader to visit his country to discuss opportunities for South African farmers. – The Mercury