FOUR senior security officers with the Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA) appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on Monday charged with various offences, including organised crime and dealing in trophies valued at over 267 million/-.
Before Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Saidi, were Clemence Jingu Mbaruck (46), who is a security manager residing at Mbagala, Emmanuel Nyambele Nsanganiye (54), Salum Seif Mnyones (33) and Albadri Habibu Mshana (31), all security officers living at Ukonga.
They were not allowed to enter plea to the charges because they are charged under Economic and Organised Crime Control Act and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not issued his consent to allow the lower court to hear the case against them.
The accused persons were ordered to go to remand until September 28, when the case will be mentioned. Investigations, according to the prosecution led by Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, have not been completed.
Assisted by trial attorneys Salim Msemo and Wankyo Simon, the prosecutor alleged that on July 5, this year, at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) area in Temeke District, in the city, jointly and together, all accused persons conspired together with other persons not in court to unlawful dealing in trophies.
It is alleged that between July 2 and 6, this year at the airport area, being public officials working with the TAA as security officers and in violation of their duties, the accused persons intentionally furthered the objective of a criminal racket.
Such racket, according to the prosecution, include unlawful facilitating the export of 150 kilogrammes of elephant tusks valued at 85,110 US dollars, 21 lion teeth valued at 27,079 US dollars and 35 Lion claws valued at 15,145 US dollars, all valued at 127,334 US dollars (about 267,401,400/-).
It is alleged further that on July 5, this year, at the same airport, the accused persons exported the said 150 kilogrammes of elephant tusks, 21 lion teeth and 35 lion claws, which are government trophies without a trophy export certificate or a CITES permit from the Director of the Wildlife Division. The four security officers with the TAA were also charged with an addition count of abuse of their position.
Between July 2 and 5, this year, being employees of TAA, jointly and together, while discharging their duties, they allegedly intentionally abused their positions by facilitating the export of the said government trophies without permit.
Such act, the prosecution further alleged, was in violation of the law under the Wildlife Conservation Act. In August, last year, a senior official with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) from Zanzibar, Ally Nassor Ally, was charged with similar offence of unlawful dealing in trophies valued at over 124 million/-.
He is alleged to have committed the offence on diverse dates between June and September 2010 in the city of Dar es Salaam and Unguja Island.
The prosecution had told the court that being a customs officer, Ally, willfully and unlawfully, engaged in trophy business without a licence by exporting 1,505 kilogrammes of elephant tusks valued at 124,195,000/- from Tanzania to Hong Kong.
Well-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 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.
Last year, an MP said poaching was out of control with an average of 30 elephants being killed for their ivory daily. In August 2011, Tanzanian authorities seized more than 1,000 elephant tusks hidden in sacks of dried fish at Zanzibar Port, destined for Malaysia.