14 August 2016

Rwandan jailed over Shs10b ivory


A Rwandan businessman, Mr Emile Kayumba, has been remanded to Luzira prison in connection with illegal dealing in ivory.
In October 2013, Ugandan Revenue Authority (URA) impounded 832 pieces of elephant tusks weighing approximately 3,000kgs. The ivory was concealed in a container belonging to Ken Freight Forwarders at the time of seizure.

Mr Kayumba, who was arrested last week at Entebbe International Airport, was on Thursday brought before the Anti-Corruption Court and remanded until August 25 this year for mention of the case.
He was charged with two offences of acquiring restricted goods contrary to the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004 and attempting to export without a valid permit contrary to the Uganda Wildlife Act.

Mr Kayumba appeared before Grade 1 Magistrate, Ms Patricia Amoko, for plea taking. He denied the charges.

No bail
Magistrate Amoko denied Mr Kayumba bail pending trial explaining that the accused person is a foreigner whose place of bode is outside the court’s jurisdiction.

The court decision resulted from objection raised by URA prosecutor, Mr Haruna Mbeeta, who told court the accused Kayumba was arrested after three years of eluding prosecution.

The prosecutor also asked court to consider the value of ivory worth $3 million (about Shs10 billion) and the punishment attached to the offences of five and seven years, respectively.

Prosecution alleges that during the month of October 2013, at Luzira in Nakawa Division, Kampala District, Mr Kayumba and others still at large, acquired 832 pieces of elephant tusks which they knew or ought to reasonably have known to be restricted goods.
The state alleges that during the same month, Mr Kayumba attempted to export wildlife specimen to wit 832 pieces of elephant tusks producing to a customs officer a valid permit to export.
However, Mr Kayumba denies the offences claiming to have imported the ivory from Democratic Republic of Congo through Bunagana border post lawfully.

Illegal trade
Trade in ivory contravenes with the East African Customs Management Act 2004 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species that puts stringent conditions on dealing in such species.



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