Zambian Defence Minister linked to elephant poaching

via GBM linked to elephant tusks confiscated at airport | Zambian Watchdog archives: June 13, 2013

Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba has been mentioned as the key figure in the ivory that was confiscated at Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda international airport.

Meanwhile, the Watchdog has been informed that Intelligence, Zawa and regular police officers that investigated and intercepted the elephant tusks are in trouble.

According to informers in the security wings, the officers have been intimidated and most of them reassigned to other places.

It began on May 14, 2013. Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba appeared at KK International airport with huge bags containing elephant tusks and in his usual rough but uninformed manner thought that since he has a diplomatic passport, he could just pass anything at the airport. ZAWA and OP officers refused to be intimidated and confiscated the tusks worth $140 000.  Mwamba, sensing possible embarrassment, cancelled his journey to China and the next day went to Kasama to for peace talks with chiefs.

The elephant tusks were taken to ZAWA offices in Chilanga.

Two days later, army commander general Paul Mihova appeared at the same KK International airport with large bags. OP and ZAWA officers discovered that he was carrying the same elephant tusks that they grabbed from Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba 48 hours earlier.

The officers again confiscated the tusks but as usual could not arrest the criminal. And this time, the carrier of the ivory did not abandon his journey as he had a contingency plan – generals are generals.

The Chinese embassy in Lusaka intervened and collected the contraband from ZAWA officials.

On May 29, Chinese diplomats attempted to smuggle out the same elephant tusks but this time, some people were arrested.

This time, Minister of Tourism and Arts Sylvia Masebo decided to say something.

The last arrest which was done at the airport involved some diplomats, so we needed to get some clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs for police to conduct interviews so that they can establish who the owner of the tusks was and where those tusks were going.”

How far will Masebo go in this matter?

Can she fight the joint team of the the defence minster, army commander and the red dragon – the Chinese diplomats?

And how much does president Michael Sata know about all this? Or more appropriately, what is Sata’s cut?

Watchdog prediction is that Masebo will just abandon this fight once she realises who is involved. She probably already has. But we may see  one or two junior officers been arraigned and charged as the culprits while the real criminals will be checking their latest bank statements in offshore accounts.



  • comment-avatar

    WeLCoMe to AfRiCA

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    John Bell 10 years ago

    I am just bewildered by the attitude of the airport officials who confiscated the elephant tusks when they were first taken to Kenneth Kaunda Airport as baggage on a flight to China by Mr Mwamba and then again some 48 hours later by Mr Mihova.
    Bothese individuals whether they be a Minister of the ruling government or a Senior member of the armed forces, should have immediately been arrested and charged under the acts of parliment currently in place.
    They are making a mockery of the government and furthermore when the Chinese Embassy tried yet again to intervene, they to should have been censured over the matter and the relative embassy official disciplined accordingly.
    What is the point of have laws in place to protect the wildlife in the country and then the control on exports of Ivory in particular when it has in the first place been poached and the people concerned found out in Government.
    It is futhermore a disgrace that ministers are involved as ringleaders of the poaching and they should be immediately dismissed from office and charged in court according to the laws of the country.

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    grace 10 years ago

    ministers and many high ranking gvt officers in Africa have been involved in the smuggling of its wealth to developed nations.Greed and selfishness drive them.Africa needs leaders with integrity of character

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    maita 10 years ago

    It does not surprise because ask any Zambian they know that today they have a rogue government. They actually wish the Rupiya Banda era. This Sata guy is a thug and does not hide it and you can expect him to appoint such people in his cabinet.

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    maita 10 years ago

    The contraband was going where China. So China is an all weather friend from looting our resources and poaching they do it in all weather.

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    Kalusha 10 years ago

    Kikikiki i like it as it happened in zambia look east policy

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    Hope the world can see how things are done in Africa,
    What a poor example to set, especially since Zimbabwe and Zambia have just hosted the recent Tourism expo!

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    Look East! The Chinese only have Africa’s best interest at heart.

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    Mike Patterson 10 years ago