Tanzanian couple jailed for 20 years for smuggling ivory



Date Published

A Tanzanian court has sentenced a couple to 20 years imprisonment after it had convicted them last week on smuggling ivory valued at 1.1 million US dollars.

The Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam jailed the couple — Peter Kabi and Leonidia Kabi — on Monday after it was satisfied with evidence adduced by the prosecution that convicted the couple to the offence.

The couple was convicted with three offences of leading organized crime, unlawful possession of government trophies and engagement in ivory trade.

The prosecution alleged that the couple was arrested on October 27, 2012 at their home in Kimara in Dar es Salaam in possession of 510 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 450.6 kilograms and five pieces of elephant bones all worth 1.1 million U.S. dollars.

The prosecution added that the couple were found in possession of the ivory without a valid license from the Director of Wildlife in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

The prosecution charged that the couple killed 93 elephants to get the 510 pieces of ivory.

Biswalo Mganga, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), said the government intended to file an application seeking confiscation of property belonging to the couple.

“The state cannot let people benefit from government resources they acquire illegally,” Mganga told a news conference shortly after the judgment.

“We will file an application to the court requesting the confiscation of the house used to store the elephant tusks,” said Mganga.

A government census of 2015 in Tanzania revealed that 60 percent of elephants had been lost over a period of five years.

Tanzania’s elephant population is one of the largest in Africa. But according to data released by the government in June 2015, between 2009 and 2014, the population had dropped from 109, 051 to 43,521.