Alleged Queen of Ivory, Yang Feng Clan is the sole buyer of elephant tusks collected from different poachers in the county, the prosecution has claimed.
The claims against the 66- year old Chinese, charged with leading organised crime and unlawful dealing in 5.4bn/- government trophies, were made at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam last Thursday, during the preliminary hearing of the economic sabotage case.
The Chinese woman is charged alongside two Tanzanians, Salivius Matembo and Manase Philemon, both aged 39. During the session, Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, assisted by State Attorney Paul Kadushi, disclosed more facts before Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi, showing how the accused committed the offences.
The prosecution claimed that prior to April 20, 2014, Tanzanian police officers received intelligence tip on existence of a high profile crime syndicate, purchasing elephant tusks from middle class suppliers across the country and eventually exporting them to Asian countries. Upon receipt of the tip, on April 20, 2014, the police arrested one member of the syndicate, Manase Philemon who confessed participation to the criminal racket, colluding with other accused.
“The second accused, Philemon, confessed further that together with the first accused, Salivius Matembo, had been collecting elephant tusks from poachers across the country, with the third accused, Yang Feng, being their sole buyer,” the prosecution disclosed.
The police mounted investigations that culminated into the arrest of Matembo and the Chinese woman, who also confessed to have taken an active role in the alleged criminal racket, the prosecution charged.
The trial attorneys said, according to investigations, between January 1, 2000 and May 22, 2015, in the city, Matembo and Philemon jointly furnished assistance and direction in the conduct of the business of collecting, transporting and selling government trophies.
The alleged trophies involved over 706 pieces of elephant tusks. It is alleged that the accused conducted the business without any permit or license from the Director of Wildlife and intended to reap benefit and promote the criminal racket. Further investigations revealed that the Chinese woman, within the same period, managed and financed the criminal racket through collection, transportation or exportation and sale of the trophies, illegally.
The prosecution said that during the matter hearing, which commences on November 4, they would call nine witnesses in attempt to prove the charges against the accused. On the other hand, the accused indicated to file seven witnesses, including themselves.