#46: Feb 2017, Kampala – 1.3 tonnes of ivory seized from West African (Kromah) syndicate
Moazu Kromah, past leader of the West African Cartel with his sons Mohammed Kourouma and Kourouma Bangaly shortly after their 2017 arrest in a Kampala home. Kromah is in a custody in New York, Bangaly in custody in Kampala and Mohammed believed to be hiding in Guinea.

#46: Feb 2017, Kampala – 1.3 tonnes of ivory seized from West African (Kromah) syndicate

The Beginning of the End for Moazu Kromah

Origin of consignment, last port before leaving Africa, seizure location, or destination location of some of Kromah's ivory.

SNAPSHOT:

  • Late on Friday the 17th February, 2017, members of Ugandan investigative NGO, NRCN (Natural Resource Conservation Network), and with Ugandan authorities, raided a home in Kampala to find 1303 kg of ivory, cutting equipment and various packaging materials.
  • Three men were arrested, Moazu Kromah, described as Liberian, as well as his two sons Mohamed Kourouma and Kourouma Bangaly, reported as from Guinea.
  • The raid and subsequent seizure were the result of more than two years investigation and international collaboration, involving primarily the NGO, The EAGLE Network, of which NRCN was than a part.
  •  Undercover investigators were setting a up a “buy” of  rhino horn with Bangaly Kourouma.  Kourouma was wanted at the time on an Ugandan arrest warrant for possessing a small amount of ivory one year previous while negotiating a multi tonne deal.
  • The second son, Mohamed Kourouma, had been previously arrested and charged (later acquitted) in Kenya while ferrying ivory to Mombasa and in the company of the nephew of Mahmoud Abdulrahman Sheikh.  Sheikh is presently before the courts relating to two 2015 seizures that transited Mombasa. 
  • Besides the seized ivory, the 2017 raid yielded evidence of previous ivory shipments totalling thousands of kilogrammes of ivory and rhino horn with one of the buyers listed as Vixay Keosavang of Laos, wanted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife with a $1 Million reward on this head.
  • The intelligence gained showed supply connections to ivory and rhino horn seizures in Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Togo, Mozambique, and Kenya.  
  • The primary accused, Moazu Kromah, is presently in custody and awaiting trial in New York for wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking and money laundering related charges.  It is not known what will happen to the prosecution relating to this seizure.
FILE
Kromah Moazu, Mohammed Kourouma, Kourouma Bangaly
SEIZURE DATE
February 17th, 2017
LOCATION
Kampala, Uganda
LISTED DESTINATION
Not reported/unknown but believed to be air freight
SEIZED WEIGHT
1303.76 kg
SEIZED DESCRIPTION
437 pieces of ivory
OTHER CONTRABAND
Ivory Cutting Machine, packaging materials, multiple mobile phones, packaging materials that matched other seized ivory/rhino horn shipments
POINT OF ORIGIN
 
POINT OF ORIGIN DNA
Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, DRC
TRANSIT POINTS
Not Applicable
VALUE
9.3 billiion
CONNECTIONS
Some ivory had markings consistent with CITES markings of Burundi stockpile; Entebbe March 2015, Juba June 2016, Kampala Sept 2016, Mombasa Dec 2016, Kampala Jan 2019, 
PHOTOS
 

Foreigners sent for trial over ivory

By Betty Ndagire

KAMPALA (July 16, 2017) – Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court has committed three foreigners to High Court for trial on charges of unlawful possession of elephant tusks worth Shs9 billion.

The suspects are: Mr Kromah Moazu, a Liberian national, Mr Kourouma Bangaly and Mr Mohammed Kourouma both Guinean nationals.
 
They are charged with unlawful possession of protected species, unlawful possession of restricted goods, unlawful importation of specimen of protected species, conspiracy to commit offence and money laundering.
 
Prosecution contends that on February 17, 2017 at Najjanankumbi in Rubaga Division, Kampala, the accused were found in possession of 437 pieces of ivory weighing 1.303.76kg valued at Shs 9.3bn, which are restricted goods under the Uganda Wild Life Act and an offence under the East African Community Management Act of 2004. The charge sheet indicates that the ivory in question was brought from Burundi without a valid import permit through a conspiracy between the accused persons.
 
On money laundering, the prosecution states that the lead suspect Mr Moazu, between 2014 and 2017 for the purpose of disguising the illicit origin of $190,000 (nearly Shs685m), transferred and received the said funds from Vannaseng Trading Company account  in Lao People’s Democratic Republic of Asia on an account in his names at Eco Bank Parliamentary Avenue Branch in Kampala. He committed the offence with the aid of his co-accused.
 
The presiding magistrate Ms Gladys Kamasanyu committed the accused to the High Court following the submission by the state prosecutor Mr Jonathan Muwaganya that investigations into the case had been completed.
 
Mr Muwaganya told court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had issued clear instructions for the suspects to be committed to the High Court for trial.
 
The indictment contends that on January 5, 2016 Mr Bangaly was arrested in possession of two elephant tusks at Mengo in Kampala and was taken to the Central Police Station (CPS) but released on police bond as investigations continued.
 
“After releasing Mr Bangaly on bond, he never reported back to police but exited Uganda for an unknown destination via Katuna border post as a pedestrian on March 31, 2016,” the charge sheets on the case file reads in part.
 
It further states: “In February 2017, police got intelligence information that Mr Bangaly had sneaked back into the country and together with others was coordinating a racket of ivory and Rhino traffickers in Uganda. On February 17, 2017 police working with officers from the Natural Resources Conservation Network, an NGO collaboration with Uganda Wildlife Authority in fighting wildlife crime, got information that Mr Bangaly was at Garden City Shopping Mall.”
 
Detectives went to Garden City Shopping Mall and arrested Bangaly. Upon his arrest he was asked to disclose where he and his colleagues Moazu and Mohammed Kourouma were keeping the ivory and Rhino horns. The detectives were led to an enclosed home in Najjanankumbi, Stella Zone in Kampala were his colleagues were also arrested.
 
The exhibits include pieces of ivory and a cutting machine.
 
bndagire@ug.nationmedia.com
 

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