TWO people are being held by the police in Dar es Salaam for allegedly being found in possession of 156 pieces of ivory tusks weighing 211.6 kilogrammes worth over 1.4bn/-.
Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam, Special Zone Commissioner of Police, Mr Suleiman Kova, named the suspects as Ramadhani Mnekea (55), a taxi driver in Temeke, and Robert Isaack 32), a resident of Mabibo in Dar es Salaam.
He said the suspects, who were arrested with 156 pieces of ivory tusks, equivalent of 45 elephants, were arrested on Monday this week at Temeke Sudan following a tip-off from civilians.
The senior police official added that the suspects were also found with a semi-automatic rifle. “We got a tip-off from a member of the public, rushed to the house of the first culprit, Mnekea and conducted a thorough search that led to the discovery of ivory tusks worth 1.4bn/- hidden in one of the rooms,” Mr Kova told reporters.
He said initial investigation have indicated that Mnekea is believed to be the owner of the tusks while the other suspect, Robert, is suspected of having been assigned the task of transporting the trophies to an unknown destination.
Mr Kova said investigations were going on in collaboration with the Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to get to the root of the vice. The suspects will appear in court as soon as investigations are completed. He stressed on the need for the public to cooperate with the police force and report any suspicious act to reduce the crime rate in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Kova said the police force is still interrogating a number of employees of the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and owners of ICDs over the loss of containers that were taken out of the Dar es Salaam Port without following proper procedures.
He said they were still collecting a number of information and documents that are needed to facilitate smooth investigations over the incident as soon as possible. “We are as well investigating their accounts and properties to see if their wealth is worth their salaries.
From there, we will see if they were involved in any acts of corruption or embezzlement of public funds,” Mr Kova further reported. Mr Kova added that when done with the investigations, they will hand over the matter to the State Attorney and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for further legal action.