Poaching and trafficking of ivory tusks in Niari: The administrator mayor of Divenié Emile Mabioko Boukala totally cleared by the justice (Republic of the Congo)


Albert Delaclef, Les Echos du Congo-Brazzaville

Date Published

Translated from the French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for the French original. 

See link for photos.

The truth always comes last, and very late, because it has as its guide a lame, which is time. It is therefore final, the decision of the Court of Dolisie in Niari (south) has just fallen within the framework of Mabiokogate. The administrator mayor of Divenié Emile Mabioko Boukala was totally cleared by the High Court of Dolisie. The agents of the Water and Forests of the prefecture city of Niari each receive 2 years of suspended imprisonment, on the one hand. They are also sentenced to pay the sum of 5 million CFA francs as damages to Mr. Émile Mabioko Boukala, on the other hand. In addition, Mac Odet Massengui alias Makelele was sentenced to pay a firm fine of 2 million CFA francs to the Congolese state.

There are personal stories that sometimes deserve to be brought to the attention of the greatest number, especially when these stories impact public figures, who are also wrongly soiled in their soul, their flesh and even their honor and dignity.

On June 17, 2021, Emile Mabioko Boukala, administrator-mayor of the Urban Community of Divenié in Niari (south) made the front page of the Congolese media.

Unquestionably victim of the excessive zeal of a certain Charles Ipari, a retired civil servant since August 2020, but still in office as Departmental Director of Water and Forests in Niari, the mayor unduly presented as a vulgar thug, molested and undressed, was cited in a case of poaching and illicit trafficking of ivory tusks.

Since then, justice has taken its course, with a judgment rendered Friday, March 4, 2022, at the expense of those who inadvertently accused him.

Accusers who could not justify their allegations.

When the Court of First Instance of Dolisie, which took up the case, decided to verify the information at the source, nine months had passed since the events that date back to June 3, 2021.

The judge listens to all the versions, at the end of a patiently conducted procedure, he gives the floor to each of the parties.

Emile Mabioko Boukala, Mayor of Divenié makes disturbing revelations, which reveal the truth in a case where the media, including the audiovisual and written press of Brazzaville, had royally ignored the principle of adversarial as well as the presumption of innocence for the authenticity of information, to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the human person, instead of gratuitously demonizing an authority, by presenting Emile Mabioko boukala, administrator-mayor of Divenié, as a poacher and trafficker of ivory tusks.

Curious all the same that in this case, the mayor of Divenié did not even benefit from the protection of the prefectural administration of Niari to which he belongs.

Showing respect for the obligation of reserve that is required in the exercise of his functions, the Mayor of Divenié remained stoic and trusted the justice of his country.

Nine months later, the beginning of this incredible story, the five agents of the forest economy of Dolisie, in this case Mac Odet Massengui alias “Makelélé”, Davy Kamba Mampassi, Alfred Ngassa, Gontran Audrey Matondo Malonga and François De Paul Malonda were charged with defamation, assault and battery and appeared at the correctional hearing of Friday, February 11, 2022 of the High Court of Dolisie.

The judges and other magistrates of the court worked to reveal the truth.

The courtroom is stormed by the public, who finally want to have the long-awaited version of the mayor of Divenié.

Before reaching this point, several acts of judicial procedure were meticulously carried out by Anicet Thimoté Massounguila, judge of the third investigating cabinet at the Dolisie High Court, transport to the scene, to the localities of Mila-mila and Divenié in the presence of all the parties, their respective counsel, the investigating judge, the public prosecutor and elements of the Public Force.

Called in turn to the bar, on Friday, February 11, the five defendants with counsel Armand Ongoundou and Didier Crescent Nzahou, unanimously and maliciously denied the facts of which they are accused.

From then on and following the usual procedure, the turn was up to Emile Mabioko Boukala having for advice Master Dieudonné Mbama, to go to the helm to give his version of the facts.

The man claims to be the victim of a slanderous denunciation, because lynched, handcuffed, undressed and then thrown into the trunk of a car by the agents of The Waters and Forests, on the night of June 3 to 4, 2021 in the village Dibeni, it is thanks to the professionalism of the police services, who arrived on time on the scene that he must save his life.

Of this crazy night, Emile Mabioko Boukala makes the detailed account. This corroborates the records of the police reports.

The account of the facts is of a rare violence.

On this day of June 2021, aboard his vehicle Emile Mabioko Boukala leaves From Divenié to Dolisie with Mrs. Ella Mboudi and her baby, at the request of her spouse.

Along the way, it is in the District of Nyanga that he responds to the requests of two other ladies (Mrs. Eve and Mrs. Jade), whom he also takes on board. They are loaded with bags of cassava, peanuts, bags of clothing, banana diets and game for both sale and consumption.

Arriving at the village Mila-Mila in the District of Louvakou, around 8:30 p.m., Emile Mabioko Boukala is for the first time apostrophized by Mac Odet Massengui, auxiliary of water and forests, posted at a barrier. After greetings he asks him for money, arguing that it was hard for them and that there was nothing to eat. Emile Mabioko Boukala replied that he would try to do something when he returned.

As if this request were only a pretext, the auxiliary of the waters and forests, raises the tone and suddenly asks to search the car, insinuating that the mayor is a trafficker of ivory tusks.

Judging the act disrespectful, Emile Mabioko Boukala refuses to comply. Massengui alias “Makelélé”, insists, on the grounds that the prefect of the Department would have asked the agents of the waters and forests to organize searches for all the vehicles passing through Mila-mila.

Refusing, in his capacity as mayor administrator, judicial police officer and depositary of state authority, to allow an auxiliary of the waters and forests to arrogate excessive powers to himself, going so far as to give him orders, Emile Mabioko Boukala decides to leave, trying to avoid his makeshift barrier which finally falls, the back of the vehicle having touched a board serving as a support for this barrier.

Continuing his journey, it is around 11 pm that he arrives at the barrier of Dibéni where he falls into what turned out to be a tracker. An exceptional and impressive device of water and forest agents were waiting, aligned with the national in human wall visibly warned against his person.

There, Emile Mabioko Boukala gets out of the vehicle and finds himself in front of a very excited staff who immediately showed insulting and threatening, accusing him in turn of poacher and trafficker of ivory tusks, despite his status as Mayor Administrator of the Urban Community of Divénié that he took care to recall, but then in vain.

In this tense atmosphere, the agents of the forest economy very strengthened and visibly without fear, really did not give him time to express himself, systematically rejecting his observations, maintaining that they were on a mission commanded by the prefect.

Only, to date, no one, let alone the Prefect himself, has really denied his involvement as the authority from whom the orders emanated during all the adventures of what happened in Dibeni that night.

Faced with these attacks on his physical integrity, these violence and assaults, feeling in total insecurity, Emile Mabioko Boukala managed with difficulty to get out of the violent grip. He hurriedly gets back in the car to escape his attackers. He locks the doors and leaves the premises, hitting the plastic studs to naturally get to safety.

However, after having traveled about 150 meters and to avoid accrediting the accusations of “poacher trafficking ivory tusks”, he takes the risk of returning to the scene, with the sole intention of allowing his car to be searched. A turnaround that he will pay cash and that he still regrets.

Indeed, rather than go to the search so desired by them, the water and forest officers beat him, handcuffed him with arms behind his back, palpated him before violently throwing him into their BJ van.

Therefore, Emile Mabioko Boukala is very worried and fears that these unleashed agents will discreetly introduce into his car compromising packages because, if there is a search, it should be done in his presence.

For more than 45 minutes, in total helplessness, he is the object of insults and threats of all kinds.

Thus, rather than organizing the search of his pick-up, these very excited staff and visibly reassured that he had nothing to fear, proved to be more threatening, insulting, defamatory and vexatious, repeating pleasingly that they had finally had his hand in the bag and that the prefect should not delay in bringing the press back to Dibeni.

It was around midnight that a police officer, witness to the violence inflicted on him in Dibeni, retreated to discreetly alert the Territorial Command of the Police Forces in Niari, which immediately set up an intervention unit that arrived promptly with a police captain at its head who had previously ordered the removal of the handcuffs from the mayor, before organizing the procession to Dolisie.

It is in these circumstances that he notices the disappearance of his two phones and his handgun, later found in the hands of his attackers, with the help of the police. However, the fifty-five thousand francs (55000 CFA francs) he had on him have remained untraceable to this day.

Meanwhile, the water and forest officers who were agitating have unsuccessfully multiplied the tricks to try to postpone the excavation yet systematic in such circumstances of flagrance.

Moreover, having been the bone of contention, his refusal to allow the vehicle to be searched could not, in any event, lead to the renunciation of the search and search for the said ivory tusksand other fully protected animals relied on by the Water and Forest officers.

The Police insisted that this search be carried out the same night, in the concession of the Territorial Command of the Police Forces in Niari, in the presence of all parties.

His attackers, hide behind alleged instructions received from the prefect of the Department of Niari.

The hunt being open and despite the fact that the search proved unsuccessful, because no evidence of ivory tusks let alone the presence of fully protected animals was found in his car, this operation still mobilized the audiovisual media (Tele Congo and DRTV).

Despite the lack of much sought-after evidence, Mayor Emile Mabioko Boukala is apparently at the request of the prefectural authority, despite everything being taken into custody. A police custody manifestly illegal, since the search of his vehicle did not reveal anything compromising.

Emile Mabioko Boukala is finally released on June 4, 2021, at 1:15 p.m.

Summoned to the prefecture, the mayor meets the prefect in the presence of the secretary general of the department. He gives a detailed account of the situation and refers to the physical abuse and all the excesses suffered. He reports that his torturers would have acted, according to their words, on the order of the Prefect, in the absence of Charles Ipari, Departmental Director of the Forest Economy on leave and absent from the department during the enigmatic night of 03 to 04 June 2021 in Dibéni.

On occasion, Emile Mabioko Boukala pleaded for the return of the thirty-eight seized game, believing that it was not reasonable to pass them to the pan, under any pretext whatsoever, the game belonging to ladies who are not hunters but have rather invested their money to survive.

Even if this request was not followed up favourably, it should still be noted that the Prefect had obviously taken the resolution to return the thirty-eight game and the three legs of wild boar.

Since then, in the absence of an administrative procedure, including a conciliation meeting of the parties or the establishment of an administrative commission of inquiry aimed at restoring the authority of the State, but also that of its dignity, Emile Mabioko Boukala has decided to take legal action.

A justice that said the law on the basis of the incriminating and exculpatory elements for each other and gave reason to Emile Mabioko Boukala, laying bare the maneuver aimed at the hijacking of public opinion and beyond all, the stifling of the judicial procedure that was slowly but surely taking its course.

We still remember the vast media campaign patiently undertaken, which undoubtedly aimed at the destruction of the administrative career of Emile Mabioko Boukala no doubt the case hid a conspiracy character.

Friday, March 4, 2022, the High Court of Dolisie delivered its judgment which for Emile Mabioko Boukala, sounds like the restoration of a justice that had been confiscated from him, he whose honor and dignity were undermined by a devastating media campaign.

Without blaming our confreres who had allowed themselves to be deceived by pseudo agents of the Waters and Forests who now appear as zealous impostors, it is very regrettable that those who had disguised the truth and invited the press to drag in the mud the honor of a man, did not invite again the same press, to wash this honor, at the end of the verdict which is favorable to Emile Mabioko Boukala.

Too bad that this is so. This is also the meaning we intend to give to the dissemination of this story that will undoubtedly teach many of us, “that we must sometimes be wary of the obvious too obvious”.