Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Tuesday said the two were arraigned in court and charged before they were remanded to Luzira prison in Kampala.
PIC: File Photo
KAMPALA- Authorities are on the hunt for 18 Vietnamese nationals suspected of smuggling ivory and pangolin scales valued at more than $8m (about Sh29b).
The suspects on the run include: Thai Xuan Phuong, Dinh Van Quan, Din Van Chung, Vo Quoc Trinh, Thai Xuan Tuan, Do Trong Ha, Tran Van Cao, Vu Van Huan, Trin Trung Dung, Leviet Quyen, Ha Chan Chinh, Le Dinh Quan, Nguyen Van Thanh, Pham Trong Phuc, Nguyen Van Pha, Nguyen Vat Viet and Hoang Van Hau.
However, two of the Vietnamese suspects, Dhan Yon Chiew and Nguyen Son Dong, were arrested on January 24, 2019 and charged with trafficking wildlife after appearing before the Kololo Anti-Corruption Court.
Police is still searching for the others who fled. They are wanted in connection with smuggling and possession of ivory and pangolin scales hidden in timber which is contrary to section 200 and 202 of the East African Community customs management Act.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Tuesday said the two were arraigned in court and charged before they were remanded to Luzira prison in Kampala. While applying for bail, the suspects said they are missed by family. They produced sureties Kiza Jimmy, Dungu Mpagi and Ismail Kefa residents of Kisenyi, Mutungo and Bwaise respectively.
UWA legal officer, Annete Tuheisomwe said the sureties do not have documents with personal details like residence or place of work. Adding that before being granted bail there is need to verify the authenticity of their work place.
“There is need for further checks on the National Identity Cards and how long they have known the suspects besides the type of business they were transacting,” said Tuheisomwe. “If concluded, this will be a pointer to the people in the region that Uganda treasures wildlife.”
Although the suspects have not declared their source, the contraband is believed to have originated from neighbouring DR Congo and passed through South Sudan before entering Uganda.
“We have been internationally labelled a conduit for illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products, ruining our reputation on the world stage. We shall use this case to show our resolve to stamp out this illegal trade," said UWA's executive director Sam Mwandha.
“While URA handles the case in regard to possession of prohibited products, we will handle it from another angle,” he added.
The authority plans to carry out DNA analysis to establish the source of ivory as part of its anti-poaching efforts.
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