In June 2009, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) received information from Interpol NCB-Dar es Salaam concerning the seizure of elephant ivory with total weight of 4,861kg by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the port area in Manila, the Philippines. The ivory had originated from the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Following that information, in June 2009, a combined investigation team was formed comprising of officers from the Tanzania Wildlife Division (TWD), Interpol NCB – Dar es Salaam and Lusaka Agreement Task Force.
The investigation revealed that on diverse dates between October 2008 and March 2009 seven (7) suspects made all necessary shipping arrangement for two containers to be shipped from Dar es Salaam port to South harbor Port, Manila. The arrangements included stuffing illegal ivory purported recycle waste plastics, preparing the bill of lading, commercial invoice, parking list, shipping orders, and booking orders. The suspects were arrested and arraigned in Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court in Dar es Salaam. Accordingly, two cases were instituted to wit, Economic Cases No. 3/2009 and No 4/2009. The hearing of these cases is still pending awaiting completion of the investigation.
In order to complete the investigation and strengthen the prosecution of the suspects, LATF led a team of five (5) investigators comprising officers from Interpol NCB, the Wildlife Division and the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) – Dar es Salaam to Manila, The Philippines, to obtain further evidence from persons of the seizing authorities from 6th to 12th March 2010.
The team verified the seized elephant ivory and collected documents and other evidence from relevant authorities in Manila, The Philippines that will be tendered in court to strengthen the prosecution of the suspects of illegal shipment of the contraband.
Investigation team with commissioner of Customs in The Philippines.
The team verifying the seized elephant ivory with their Philippine counterparts