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Tanzania – Husband and Wife Charged with Trafficking 413 Ivory Pieces from 2019 Seizure

SEEJ:AFRICA:

  • On July 20th, 2022, Tanzania media reported that Abdul Abdallah and his wife, Salma Mshamu, appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court for allegedly being found with 413 elephant tusks and two hippo teeth in 2019.
  • These charges appear to coincide with a seizure made by Tanzania law enforcement officials on September 3rd, 2019, when 652 kg of ivory was found in a home in Dar es Salaam. (see story below) 
  • The contraband consisted of 338 tusk pieces, 75 complete tusks and 2 hippo teeth.
  • Seven persons were arrested at the time, including Hassan Shaban Likwema @ Hassan Nyoni, who was described as a “hardcore” poacher who had been on the Tanzanian watch list for three years.
  • Abdul Abdallah and his wife, Salma Mshamu, were not amongst those originally arrested. SEEJ-AFRICA has found no indication to date that Hassan Shaban Likwema was ever charged.

Couple faces economic sabotage case over Sh4 billion ivory tusks 

by Pamela Chilongola
 
July 20th, 2022, Dar es Salaam: Residents of Chamazi in Temeke District, Dar es Salaam Region, Abdul Abdallah (35) and his wife, Salma Mshamu (21) appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday for allegedly being found with 413 elephant tusks valued at more than Sh4.04 billion.
 
In the economic sabotage case number 46 of 2022, the two were also charged for possessing  hippo teeth valued at Sh3.453 million.
 
Reading the charge sheet, senior state attorney Timotheo Mmari told the court that the accused face counts of engaging in the trading of government trophies and being found in possession of government trophies.
 
The state attorney told the court that between January 1, 2017 and September 3, 2019, in the area of Saku Chamazi in Temeke District, the two accused bought and received 413 elephant tusks valued at $1755,000, which is equivalent to Sh4.04 billion and two hippo teeth valued at $1,500, which is equivalent to Sh3.453 million.
 
In the second charge, the state attorney told the court that on the same date, the two accused persons, in the area of Saku Chamazi in Temeke District, were found with 413 elephant tusks valued at more than Sh4.04 billion, the property of the government of Tanzania without a permit from the director of the wildlife.
 
In the last charge facing the couple, Mmari alleged that on the same date and in the same area, both the accused were found with two teeth of the hippopotamus valued at more than Sh3.4 million, a property of the government of Tanzania, without a permit from the director of wildlife.
 
He told the court that investigations into the case have been completed and that the prosecution was only awaiting a permit from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for approval so that hearing of the case could continue.
 
However, Principal Resident Magistrate Pamela Mazengo said the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear economic sabotage cases and that upon completion of relevant processes, it would be referred to the High Court’s Division of Corruption and Economic Sabotage.
 
The case was adjourned to August 2, 2022.

Tanzania seizes ivory tusks equivalent to 117 elephants killed

  September 05, 2019 5:26 a.m. EDT                 
by Thomson Reuters         
 
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Tanzania has seized ivory tusks equivalent to killing at least 117 elephants, its tourism minister said, part of its drive to stamp out organized criminal networks involved in years of industrial-scale poaching.
 
The elephant population in Tanzania, famed for its wildlife reserves, shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to barely 43,000 in 2014, according to a 2015 census, with conservation groups blaming rampant poaching. The government says numbers have now started to recover.
 
Demand for ivory from Asian countries such as China and Vietnam, where it is turned into jewels and ornaments, has driven the surge in poaching across Africa.
 
Hamisi Kigwangalla, minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, said on his Twitter account late on Wednesday the ivory was recovered after authorities arrested suspected “hardcore” poacher Hassan Shaban Likwema, also known by the alias Hassan Nyoni.
 
“The arrest of Nyoni has brought us to a stage where we can say we have taken into custody all the hardcore poachers on our wanted list, except for a few who have left the country,” Kigwangalla said.
 
“Nyoni and his accomplices’ consignment is worth 4 billion shillings ($1.74 million) and involved the killing of 117 elephants going back to 2015 and earlier,” he said.
 
Neither Likwema nor his accomplices were immediately reachable for comment.
 
Pictures Kigwangalla posted on his Twitter account showed him inspecting a row consisting of 75 whole tusks and some 338 smaller pieces of ivory.
 
The government said in July its anti-poaching efforts had led to a recovery in elephant numbers, which rose to over 60,000 at present.
 
A Tanzanian court in February sentenced a prominent Chinese businesswoman dubbed the “Ivory Queen” to 15 years in prison for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants to Asia, marking a major victory for the government.
 
($1 = 2,294.0000 Tanzanian shillings)
 
(Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Gareth Jones)
 

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