East Africa: Prosecution Completes Investigation On Ivory Queen (Tanzania)


Faustine Kapama, Tanzania Daily News

Date Published

Prosecution has completed investigations against the Queen of Ivory who is charged with organised crimes and unlawful possession of 5.4bn/- government trophies.

Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi told Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the prosecution was ready to proceed with the trial of 66-year old Chinese, Yang Feng Clan.

“We just pray for time to file the consent of the Director of Public Prosecution and the certificate conferring this court with jurisdiction to hear the economic case,” Mr Nchimbi, who was assisted by State Attorney Paul Kadushi, appealed before the court. The magistrate granted the prosecution’s request and adjourned the matter for another mention on September 23.

The suspect appeared before the court on October 7, 2015 to face the charges. She was not allowed to enter plea to the charges because the DPP had not consented to the court to hear the matter. In the case, Clan is charged alongside two other Tanzanian businessmen, Salivius Matembo (39) and Manase Philemon (39).

All of them are in remand. The prosecution alleges that between January 1, 2000 and May 22, last year in the city, all the accused traded on the government trophies. It is alleged that the trio bought and sold 706 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 1,889 kilogrammes, valued at 5,435,865,000/-, the property of United Republic of Tanzania, without a permit from the director of wildlife.

The prosecution alleged that within the same period and place, Clan organised, managed and financed the criminal racket by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling the elephant tusks without having permit of the director of wildlife or CITES.

Within the period and place, Matembo and Philemon assisted and directed the business of collecting, transporting and selling the trophies, reaping huge benefit that further promoted the criminal racket’s objectives.

Philemon is facing a separate count of escaping from lawful custody. The prosecution told the court that the accused committed the offence on May 21, last year, at Sinza Palestina Hospital in Kinondoni District in the city. Heavily armed criminals kill elephants and rhinos for their tusks, largely due to increasing demand in China for ivory ornaments and folk medicines.

It is reported further that most of the tusks smuggled from the east African country end up in Asia. International trade in ivory was banned in 1989 after the population of elephants dropped from the millions in the mid-20th century to about 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

Some members of parliament were reported to have said in 2013 that poaching was out of control with an average of 30 elephants being killed for their ivory every day.

In August 2011, Tanzanian authorities seized over 1,000 elephant tusks hidden in sacks of dried fish at Zanzibar port and destined for Malaysia.