THE Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) on Monday intercepted a consignment of 200 kilogrammes of ivory worth over $1 million destined for Malaysia at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport amid reports that the contraband belonged to a top Zanu PF politician.
BY Everson Mushava
ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo confirmed the development yesterday, saying the alleged loot was recovered with the help of other State security agencies.
“We recovered 200kg of ivory valued at more than $500 000 on the official market,” he said.
“The net is closing in on the owners because we have identified the travel agency that was facilitating the transportation of the consignment.”
According to sources at the airport, the consignment comprised of four boxes with carved ivory.
This was the first time efforts to smuggle ivory of such huge volume had been made. Previous attempts to nab the ivory smugglers had hit a brickwall after it was discovered the syndicates were linked to top officials.
In the latest incident, there was speculation that the consignment belonged to top officials.
Farawo said ZimParks would not hesitate to exercise its mandate following a directive by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stamp out corrupt activities. Trade in ivory has been outlawed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to prevent extinction of elephants and rhinos. This has resulted in ivory finding its way to the informal market, particularly to Asian countries, where it is commonly used as an aphrodisiac.