Tanzania: DPP Yet to Finalise ‘Ivory Queen’s’ File Screening


Faustian Kapama, Tanzania Daily News

Date Published

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is still scrutinising the case file involving alleged Queen of Ivory, Chinese Yang Feng Clan (66), who is charged with leading organised crime and unlawful dealing in government trophies, valued at over 5.4bn/-.

This was revealed at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam by the prosecution, led by State Attorney, Aloyce Mbunito, when the case came for preliminary hearing, following the completion of investigations into the matter.

The prosecutor informed Principal Resident Magistrate, Waliarwande Lema, however, that the court would not conduct the preliminary session because the DPP has not completed going through the case file. He requested for adjournment of the matter.

Such position of the prosecution, however, appeared to have aggrieved the defence, led by advocate Nehemia Nkoko, who expressed his concern on delay relating to the conduct proceedings of the case.

The advocate pointed out that it was third time the case was being adjourned without any justification and that the matter had ever been taken to the High Court where instructions were given expedition of the trial.

In her short order, however, the magistrate agreed to adjourn the case for another mention on May 23, but directed the prosecution to come up with a clear position on the matter to enable the preliminary hearing to be held. 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, jointly and together, all the three accused persons carried on business of the said government trophies.

It is alleged that the trio bought and sold 706 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 1889kg 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, intentionally, Clan organised, managed and financed a criminal racket by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling the elephant tusks without having permit of the director of wildlife or CITES permit.

Within the same period and place, Matembo and Philemon, allegedly furnished assistance and directions in the conduct of business of collecting, transporting and selling the said government trophies with intent to reap benefit, promote and further the objective of criminal racket.

Philemon is facing a separate count of escaping from lawful custody. The prosecution told the court that the accused person committed the offence on May 21, last year, at Sinza Palestina Hospital in Kinondoni District in the city.

It is alleged that the accused person escaped from lawful custody of a police officer, who was holding him under custody on allegations of dealing in government trophies and leading organised crimes.