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Kenya Revenue Authority seizes ivory destined for Colombia

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by December 23, 2016 General

MOMBASA (Xinhua) — Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Tuesday seized ivory worth millions of Kenyan shillings concealed in two containers at the Port of Mombasa.

KRA Commissioner David Yego told journalists in Mombasa that the ivory pieces were hidden in wooden logs destined for Colombia.

Yego said the two containers were part of ten containers that were disguised and declared to contain teak logs (timber) last month.

“We had intelligence information and intercepted eight export containers, but the other two had already left the port. We contacted shipping and other agencies and managed to intercept the two,” he said.

The two containers were later intercepted in Singapore en-route to Colombia and reshipped back to the country where the ivory was discovered after verification by a multi-agency team at the port.

Yego said it had contacted different agents including Interpol that assisted in tracking the two twenty-feet containers after they managed to be sneaked out of the port of Mombasa.

The team has launched investigation to apprehend more suspects believed to be mastermind of ivory trade at the port of Mombasa. According to port documents, the two containers have 424 pieces of teak beams.

KRA said the two containers will be subjected to full verification and weighing the ivory before they can release the final report to the media.

Sources indicate that the same clearing agent was behind smuggling 12 ivory-concealing containers that were seized in Vietnam early November after they were also sneaked from the port of Mombasa.

The ivory had been hidden in hollowed-out logs and blocks of timber that were sealed. The containers, with one tonne of ivory, were intercepted by Vietnamese authorities at the Cat Lai Port in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

According to authorities, the ivory seized last month was destined for Cambodia through Vietnam.

The port of Mombasa is linked in smuggling of ivory, drugs and other contrabands where port authorities reportedly collude with dealers after being bribed. 

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Authorities probe Kenya 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.

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