Tag Archives: Dar es Salaam

Tanzania: Self-Confessed Poacher Files Against Sentence

Tanzania Daily News
2 April 2014

A CHINESE national, Yu Bo, who was recently jailed 20 years after his failure to pay a 9bn/- fine for unlawful possession of government trophies worth over 978m/-, has filed a notice of appeal to challenge the sentence passed against him.

He filed the notice of appeal at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, expressing his intention to appeal to the High Court to challenge the sentence given by Senior Resident Magistrate  Devota Kisoka on March 18, this year.

The magistrate convicted the Chinese poacher on his own plea of guilt. After the conviction, the magistrate imposed the severe sentence to serve as a lesson to other like-minded people.

“The accused person is sentenced to pay 9,781,204,900/-. In default, he should serve 20 years’ imprisonment,” the magistrate had declared after considering the mitigation factors presented by the convict seeking the court’s mercy.

Bo had told the court that it was his first time to be convicted in a criminal case and had several dependants. The prosecution, led by Senior State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, on the other hand, sought for a severe sentence because the offence committed was serious.

Facts of the case show that the convict entered the country for business purposes on November 26, last year. Shortly after his arrival, he initiated communications with a syndicate of poachers within and outside Tanzania for the purpose of poaching elephants and other animals, including pangolins.

In the process, the convict and other poachers who are yet to be arrested managed to collect 81 elephant tusks and two pangolin scales which were eventually hidden in Mwenge area in Kinondoni district in the city.

The accused had no permit from the Director of Wildlife Division allowing him to possess the said ivory tusks and the pangolin scales. On December 30, last year, in the evening, the convict loaded the government trophies on a Mazda pick-up with registration No. T 218 BUY.

Covered with other various animal carvings, Bo then transported the said trophies to Dar es Salaam port with intent to ship them to the People’s Republic of China. On arrival at the gate of the port at around 20.30pm, he asked permission to go to one of the docked ships.

Before being granted permission, security officers on duty searched the motor vehicle and uncovered the said 81 elephant tusks and the two pangolin scales which were concealed in wooden boxes on board the pick-up.

Bo was subsequently arrested and taken to the police station for interrogation. During the session, the convict admitted being found with the government trophies and that he had not secured any permit.

Article at the following link:

Counting the cost of East Africa’s poaching economy

Organised crime gangs generate staggering profits smuggling ivory and rhino horn

AFP

Published: 15:33 March 23, 2014

Nairobi: Organised crime gangs in East Africa are generating staggering profits smuggling ivory and rhino horn with impunity, experts say, threatening both an irreplaceable wildlife heritage and key tourism industries.

Kenyan and Tanzanian ports are the “primary gateway” for ivory smuggled to Asia, where demand is fuelled by increasingly affluent markets, especially in China, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns.

Last year, seizures of ivory shipments reached “record levels”, according to a recent Interpol report.

“Large-scale ivory shipments — each one representing the slaughter of hundreds of elephants — point to the involvement of organised crime networks operating across multiple countries,” Interpol said.

 Poaching has risen sharply across Africa in recent years.

Organised gangs with insider knowledge and armed with automatic weapons and specialised equipment such as night vision goggles, brazenly use chainsaws to carve out the rhino horn or remove elephant tusks.

Veteran Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey has now warned that drastic action must be taken, saying that known ringleaders in Kenya are operating with “outrageous impunity”.

The rise in poaching, with animals being slaughtered inside even the most heavily guarded national parks or conservation areas, show that the poachers have little fear of tough new laws designed to stem the wave of killings, he said.

“They could not operate with the impunity we are seeing if you did not have some form of protection from law enforcement agencies,” Leakey said, as he made an appeal for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to take action.

“It is a problem of a few criminals… the ringleaders are known,” he added, claiming that a core group of around 20 to 30 people were organising the mass poaching but that none had faced justice.

It’s a lucrative business: a kilo of ivory is worth some $850 (Dh3,121) in Asia, with UNODC suggesting ivory smuggled to Asia from Eastern Africa was worth over $31 million in 2011.

But such short-term and finite profits generated by the spate of killings are threatening the far more valuable tourism industry, which in Kenya and Tanzania is the second largest foreign exchange earner after agriculture.

“The African elephant is not currently deemed ‘endangered’ as a species, but its decimation in Eastern Africa could be devastating,” UNODC’s report read.

“In addition to the reduction in genetic diversity, its loss could seriously undermine local tourist revenues, a key source of foreign exchange for many of the countries of the region.”

But the region’s two large container ports — Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania — are also notorious trafficking hubs, funnelling more elephant tusks to Asia than all of central, southern and west African nations combined.

The two nations made up almost two-thirds of all large shipments of ivory seized across the entire continent from 2009-2011, according to the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), a tracking database run by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

Seizures of containers crammed full of tusks — often hidden under foul-smelling fish or dried chili peppers in a bid to confuse sniffer dogs or discourage detailed searches — are regularly found.

Much of the ivory smuggled is destined for China, whose rapidly growing economy has encouraged those enjoying disposable income to splash out on an ivory trinket as a sign of financial success.

“Growing affluence in China, where possession of elephant ivory remains a status symbol, appears to have rendered China the world’s leading destination for illicit ivory,” the UNODC report added.

The smuggling of rhino horns is a bigger problem for Southern Africa, which has far more of the endangered animals. It is often done by air, due to the value of the horn and its smaller size.

But scores of East African rhinos are also being killed despite wildlife rangers often risking their lives to protect them.

 Few convictions

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 Action is being taken including far stiffer sentences for wildlife crime, with Tanzania this month jailing a Chinese ivory smuggler to 20 years in jail, and Kenya introducing tough new laws with comparable penalties.

But many escape justice: a recent study by the Kenyan conservation campaign group Wildlife Direct found that just four percent of those convicted of wildlife crime in the past spent time in jail.

Tanzania last year launched a crackdown on suspected poachers, operating under what was reported to be a shoot-to-kill policy and making sweeping arrests.

Leakey, 69, a Kenyan national and former head of the government’s Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said with the “right management” stemming the poaching was “not an impossible” task.

He was key in stemming the rampant poaching of the late 1980s, bringing in extreme measures to combat poachers including sending helicopter gunships into national parks, and organising the iconic burning of stockpiled ivory.

“It is not valuable, it is tragic rubbish,” Leakey said, waving an ivory carving seized from a smuggler, the tiny tusk of a baby elephant.

“It is putting at risk our heritage… you can regrow a crop but you cannot regrow a wildlife species that disappears.”

This article can be found in this link:

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/other-world/counting-the-cost-of-east-africa-s-poaching-economy-1.1307699

Tanzania: Corruption in High Office Nourishes Poaching

By Lawi Joel,Tanzania Daily News

3 March 2014

POACHING of the wildlife in the country has become a runaway evil that allegedly enriches politicians and civil servants in the corridors of power.

Despite people’s hollers — that population of the rare and endangered species like rhinos, leopards and the elephants are declining fast, national efforts to curb the illegal trade have not made a dent in the vice as more ivory is seized almost every too often.

For some reason, ivory and rhino horn trade has recently spiralled, prompting the government and stakeholders to step up the fight against poaching. But the fight is proving futile as poaching apparently escalates.

President Kikwete told Parliament recently that at independence, the country had an elephant population of 350,000, but hardly twenty years later, the number declined to 55,000.

Quite a drastic fall! Evidently, attempts to check poaching have failed as by 2009, only 10,000 elephants remained in the country. Sometime last year, the government reacted with Operation Tokomeza, an exercise to check poaching and unearth illegal foreigners to bolster security in the country.

But the operation made merely a slight impact on poaching and was seriously mal-implemented by various authorities. The government responded by stopping the operation.

Seemingly, poachers waited for the government’s fury to abate and no sooner had the operation stopped, they killed more than 60 elephants.

The arrest of three Chinese nationals in Dar es Salaam last November with a stockpile of 797 tusks proved that poaching was a free-for-all illegal business.

However, it was a bitter truth for the nation’s economy because that entire trophy meant 400 elephants had been killed. Poachers apparently took advantage of the government’s laxity in fighting the crime.

Critics would have it no other way more than the accusation that the state organs are not being responsible enough.

Whatever reasons given, poaching of the country’s wildlife has alarmingly increased, posing a bleak future for various endangered species. Events have shown that when the authorities are keen in their work of preventing poaching, the elephant population and those of other species threatened with disappearance, increase.

In 1987, when the government launched a major anti-poaching operation, the slaughter of elephants in the country declined sharply and the numbers increased from 55,000 in 1989 to 110,000 in 2009.

Evidence shows that a ban on ivory trade favours increase of elephants. When in the mid-20th century the number of tuskers declined to about 600, 000 from millions by the end of the 1980s, the International trade in ivory was banned in 1989.

The sudden, drastic fall in elephants’ population in 2009 shows that something is seriously amiss with the relevant authorities. Various reasons are advanced for the escalation of ivory trade.

Its market in China and elsewhere in the Far East is alleged to have grown. But the government does not have the wherewithal to adequately check poaching, not only in its biggest national game reserve– Selous, with the size of 232,535 square kilometres — the size of United Kingdom, but in other reserves and game parks as well.

“A new census at the Selous- Mikumi ecosystem has revealed that the elephant population had plummeted to just 13,084 from 38,975 in 2009, representing a 66-per cent decline,” he said in the report.

Endorsing the government’s fear — that it was fighting a losing battle — was a seizure of 20 tonnes of ivory within a period of only three years – from 2010 to 2013. Game Rangers to fight poaching in game reserves are small in number and are overwhelmed by the huge patrolling task of the wild land.

Poachers have taken the government’s inadequacies and wreaked havoc on the wildlife, decimating populations of endangered species to significant numbers. Late last year, the president gave at the State House in Dar es Salaam a report that portrayed the enormity of the problem.

In this scenario, Tanzania obviously needs assistance to fight poaching. Nations which stand well to provide that assistance are its big political and economical friends like China, America and the UK.

The states can help eradicate market for ivory and other wildlife trophies within them. In that regard, Kikwete has roundly stated: “We need technical assistance, funding and technology to … enable us to employ more game rangers and to give us modern technology to tackle poachers.”

However, allegation that stalwart politicians and other government officials in position of power participate in poaching of wildlife, shows that fighting the evil is both a complicated and difficult war.

Rangers have been implicated in poaching and recently some of them were fired for involvement in the illicit business. Even more tarnishing to the government is allegation that police officers too, take part in the dirty and disastrous activity.

The undertone here is that corruption is the major obstacle in the whole in the fight against poaching. One thing is certain here.

With the apparent laxity and the present reign of greed for fast riches, the elephant is certainly on its way out into oblivion, and if any friend can and must help, it is China.

Tanzania: Four Tanzanian Security Officers Dismissed Over Poaching

Sabahi
1 August 2013

Head of Tanzania’s Kiteto Prison Ally Ramadhani Sauko and his deputy Joseph Kimaro have been fired for possession of giraffe, zebra and ostrich meat, Tanzania’s The Citizen reported Thursday (July 31st).

Sauko and Kimaro were arrested July 23rd with five others carrying the meat on a prison vehicle, and were expelled after police investigations, said Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson Isaac Nantanga. They have also been accused of allowing government vehicles and weapons to be used in poaching activities.

The government also dismissed two policemen who were arrested at the weekend in the Coast region in possession of 70 elephant tusks with an estimated value of 850 million shillings ($525,000). They were found guilty of conspiring with civilians to transport elephants tusks from Kisarawe to Dar es Salaam. After their dismissal they were charged, along with seven other suspects, with two counts of possession of government trophies and economic sabotage.

Article at the following link:

Tanzanian Authorities Arrest Nine Suspects With 70 Elephant Tusks

Sabahi
30 July 2013

Authorities have arrested nine people, including two police officers, in possession of 70 elephant tusks in Tanzania’s Coast region, Tanzania’s The Citizen reported Monday (July 29th).

The suspects were apprehended Sunday evening in Kisarawe district, said Coast regional Police Commander Ulrich Matei. The policemen are affiliated with the Oyster Bay Police Station in the Kinondoni District of Dar es Salaam.

“The 70 confiscated tusks show that some 35 elephants were killed for the ivory,” Matei said. The tusks weigh 305 kilograms and have an estimated value of 850 million shillings ($525,000).

The suspects will be arraigned in court when investigations are complete.

Article at the following link: