Kenya probes Mombasa revenue officials over ivory smuggling
MOMBASA (Xinhua) — Kenyan authorities said Wednesday that they are investigating Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials over latest seizure of ivory worth 1.97 million U.S. dollars.
A multiagency team has launched a probe to apprehend custom officials and clearing agents who might have colluded to sneak out the two containers in October.
KRA Commissioner Rashid Ali told journalists that the two containers had a total of 334 pieces of ivory, weighing 1.09 tonnes, stashed in wooden logs destined for Colombia.
“We have launched investigation with hope of arresting the mastermind of ivory at the port. It’s very clear that our officials might have colluded with poachers to sneak out the containers,” Ali said.
The containers were intercepted in Singapore and reshipped back to the country.
“It’s a sad day to see that quite a number of animals are killed and transported. It’s a wipeout of number of elephants. We are going to continue to fight this menace,” said KRA Commissioner David Yego.
Sources indicate that the same clearing agent was behind the smuggling of 12 ivory-concealing containers that were seized in Vietnam early November after also being spirited away from the port of Mombasa.
Conservationists say poaching has destroyed large numbers of African elephants, prompting experts to warn the species could be wiped out within decades.