Uganda Cannot Trade Off Impounded Ivory Stock: UWA


Uganda Radio Network

Date Published

According to the rules issued by the CITES, the body that monitors and supervises international trade in the species that face extinction, the species cannot simply be traded off cheaply.
Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA cannot trade off the impounded stock of Ivory due to the stringent rules set by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, URN has learnt. Currently, Uganda has over 5000 kilograms of impounded ivory. However, there have been arguments on whether or not the country should sell off or burn the impounded ivory.

According to some reports Uganda Revenue Authority has been pushing UWA to trade off the ivory to generate money for the economy, but the rules cannot be bent to allow this to happen. According to the rules issued by the CITES, the body that monitors and supervises international trade in the species that face extinction, the species cannot simply be traded off cheaply.

The rule states the export of any specimen of a species included in Appendix I shall require the prior grant and presentation of an export permit. An export permit shall only be granted when the following conditions have been met:
(a) a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species;
(b) a Management Authority of the State of export is satisfied that the specimen was not obtained in contravention of the laws of that State for the protection of fauna and flora;
(c) a Management Authority of the State of export is satisfied that any living specimen will be so prepared and shipped as to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment; and
(d) a Management Authority of the State of export is satisfied that an import permit has been granted for the specimen.

Elephants are categorized in appendix 1 as highly endangered species. The country that wants to dispose of the ivory must submit a written application to the animal committee of CITES that sits to examine the application. After careful scrutiny, the committee can either reject or accept the request. If it accepts the request, the originating country must also obtain CITES permit from CITES country management authority with recommendation from scientific authority before you can be allowed to sell off the stock.
Kule Asa Musinguzi, the Community Conservation Coordinator at Uganda Wildlife Authority says with the stringent conditions in place, Uganda stands no chance to have its stock traded off. He says southern African countries were only allowed once to dispose of their stock. He says for a country to do that, there is a minimum amount, which he says Uganda has not reached. He says with this in mind, the available stock can only be destroyed after all the court proceedings against the culprits are disposed of;

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Cue out: …doesn’t delegate it.”//

Sarah Banage, the Corporate Affairs Manager Uganda Revenue Authority says the authority only acts in confiscating the contraband and prosecuting the criminals. She says after that, the consignment is handed over to UWA that is legally mandated to manage it.
She says currently, the authority has 867 pieces of ivory in its stores and once all the court proceedings are complete, it will be handed over to UWA for management. Another 444 pieces of ivory are being kept at Civil Aviation Authority premises at Entebbe after they were captured from the dealers attempting to export them to Asian countries.

Currently, a string of both civil and criminal cases involving a Kenyan Owino Odhiambo and Emille Kayumba Ogane are ongoing in Nakawa Magistrates Court, Anti Corruption Court and High Court in Kampala. The duo was arrested with about 1000 kilograms of ivory in October last year.

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