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Kinana refutes ivory trafficking claims made by opposition MPs

8th May 2013
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CCM Secretary General, Abdulrahman Kinana

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi Secretary General, Abdulrahman Kinana, has strongly refuted all claims made by the opposition camp in Parliament recently that he was involved in the trafficking of elephant tusks that were impounded in Vietnam in 2009, calling them as fabricated lies.

According to him, “the accusations are unfounded, malicious and aimed at deliberately tarnishing my image and that of my party.”

Speaking at a press conference in Dodoma yesterday, Kinana said that the claims were baseless, because all the local and international authorities have cleared him on the issue which was handled by Interpol and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

Documents show the suspects who were arrested and taken to the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court were Eladius Tesha Colonerio, the Director of Team Freight (T) Limited, Gabriel Chambo Balua, Import and Export Manager of TEA Freight (T) Limited and Shaban Yasssin Yabula, Executive Director of Kigoma M.N. Enterprises (T) Limited.
Others in the list include Erick Lelo Morand, an employee of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) at Dar es Salaam Port, Issa Ahmed Lweno, Norbert Kiwale and Abubakari Omar Hassan.

The documents also show that customs officers in Haiport and Hanoi, Vietnam had impounded 6,200 kg of elephant tusks that trafficked from Dar es Salaam port.

Between March and June in the same year customs officers based in South harbour port of Manila, Philippines had impounded another consignment of 4,861 kgs that was also trafficked from Dar es Salaam port.

Following the report from Vietnam, the police in collaboration with Wildlife Department in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Interpol and the Eastern and, Southern Africa (Lusaka Agreement Task Force –LAFT), an international body responsible for curbing the spread of poaching began to carry out investigations.

The investigations were conducted by the late Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Angelist Bonga, he said. “The task force successfully conducted investigations and netted the five suspects who were later charged, he added.

As the case was raging on, the government decided to dispatch a team of investigators to Vietnam, but the Asian country objected its entry for lack of agreement with Tanzania on exchanging information on criminal issues.
This led the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court to drop the case for lack of evidence from Vietnam, he said.

“Until today the files on these two cases are attended at the Kisutu courts. Therefore the allegations against me in particular are unfounded and hold no water.

I know this is part of dirty politics and in fact I had expected this after making a case in Morogoro about two weeks ago for Tanzanians to shun away from divisive politics aimed at plunging the country into chaos,” he said.

Kinana said that instead of Rev Msigwa, and his party Chadema, engaging in cheap things, they are supposed to address all the issues he raised in the Morogoro meetings, he said.

Tabling its views on the 2013/14 budget speech for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in Parliament last week, Shadow Minister Peter Msigwa (Iringa Urban, Chadema) accused the government of its inaction in bringing to book people who have been involved in poaching and trading in ivory despite being mentioned publicly.

In this illegal business, the CCM Secretary General, Abdulrahman Kinana, was named as one of the owners of the shipping agency that was allegedly involved in the trafficking of the tusks from Tanzania to Vietnam. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN