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.