Ivory hidden in ‘plastics’ container
MAPUTO: The Mozambican Tax Authority has blocked an attempt to export a large quantity of ivory from the Port of Maputo to Asia.
The huge amount of ivory was found in a container in the port, disguised as plastics, and the export documents said it was destined for Cambodia. Speaking to reporters in the port, the tax authority’s press officer, Fernando Tinga, said the container belonged to a factory in Beluluane, on the outskirts of Maputo, which specialised in the production of plastic articles. He declined to name the company, or reveal whether it was owned by Mozambican or foreign citizens.
He said the ivory was discovered during a “routine inspection” by scanner . There were six containers, and the export documents said they contained polypropylene resin, which is used to make plastic products.
But inspection revealed no resin. Instead there were large quantities of used plastic items, apparently being sent for recycling. “We’re talking about plastic bottles of mineral water or soft drinks, already used,” said Tinga.
The ivory was found in one of the six containers,hidden among used plastic items. All export of ivory, raw or worked, is illegal in Mozambique.
The tusks are yet to be counted and whether the elephants were slaughtered in Mozambique or neighbouring states is not known.
Tinga said that criminal proceedings would be opened at the Customs Tribunal. Nobody has been arrested,but the company that owns the container has been notified.
“We are continuing the investigations”, said Tinga, “because it may be that behind this there are other elements we have yet to discover to reach definitive conclusions about where the ivory came from”. – Independent Foreign Service