Friday, October 19, 2018
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Zimbabwe investigates Grace Mugabe for illegal ivory smuggling

Former first lady's ties to ivory smuggling ring under investigation after undercover mission by wildlife photographer.

Zimbabwe has launched an investigation into the country's former first lady, Grace Mugabe, over her alleged involvement in an ivory smuggling ring.

The probe was opened after a three-month undercover mission by Australian wildlife photographer Adrian Steirn. 

Steirn said he uncovered the poaching and smuggling syndicate when he began looking into the illegal ivory trade in December.

"Ivory was being sourced either from the national park's vault, being thieved or pilfered, or from live elephants being killed by poaching syndicates. The syndicate would then sell to Grace Mugabe's clientele," he said.

"She would then be able to pack that and send it out through the airport. Anything through that airport, that was the property of the first lady, was not searched or scanned in any way."

Steirn has gathered documents, undercover videos and testimonies. They expose the syndicate and the former first lady's involvement in ivory smuggling, he said.

Controlled ivory trade is allowed in Zimbabwe, but its export is not permitted.

In a written statement, Christopher Mutsvangwa, a special adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, said Zimbabwe's government "will seek answers from all parties including former First Lady Grace Mugabe … about their knowledge of the illegal export of prohibited items from our country."

Two alleged smugglers have been charged with possession of ivory.

Grace Mugabe's staff, lawyers and relatives were contacted for comment, but they did not respond.

During the presidency of her husband, Robert, she was a controversial figure, earning the nickname "Gucci Grace" for her extravagant shopping sprees.

Her hopes of succeeding him were dashed when the army forced Mugabe from power in November, and Mnangagwa took over.

That was when Steirn saw an opening to investigate, going undercover as an ivory buyer. 

Three weeks later, in December, authorities in Zimbabwe seized an illegal shipment of 200 kilograms of ivory destined for Malaysia at Harare's Robert Mugabe International Airport.

Steirn said the evidence he gathered connects that shipment to Grace Mugabe and the smuggling syndicate. 


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Probe into rebel commander's killin...

Read More

Somalia: Double suicide bombing in ...

Read More

DR Congo: Ebola claims 24 lives in ...

Read More

Congolese opposition leader prevent...

Read More

Nigeria: Boko Haram executes second...

Read More

Death toll in Uganda's landslide ri...

Read More

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Israel pounds Gaza

India's Kerala state devastated

Capturing life under apartheid