Border Enforcement Officers at London Heathrow Airport have intercepted a DHL package weighing 10kg containing various crafts, among them 211 items made of elephant ivory and disguised in shoe polish.
The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) last week received a report from INTERPOL saying that on April 2, 2014, they examined a DHL courier packaged in transit from Zambia to Paris, France, which was found to contain 211 assorted ivory items covered in shoe polish, 4x wooden bangles and 2x masks and that no Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species (CITES) export permit accompanied the goods.
The shipping details indicated the package was sent from Lusaka en-route to France, sent by 32 year old Melton Chilufya, of 31 Helen Kaunda in Lusaka to Mukendi Kampuki Joseph of 19 avenue de Royaumont, Bat 2 apartment 1001 95270 Viarmes, Paris, France, according to ZAWA Commuications officer Mwila Readith Muliyunda.
Upon receipt of the information, ZAWA made follow up investigations that led to the apprehension of Melton Chilufya, who led officers to his current residence in Garden House area along Mumbwa road, where a search was done and two airway bills were found and one of them was addressed to Mukendi Kampuki of the mentioned address in Paris.
Further examination of the shipping information and nature of the contraband revealed that the method of disguising the ivory with shoe polish was the same as that of a recent arrest made of Langson Ngwira, 25 who was found with 15 kg of ivory curios, intercepted at Chirundu border by the Drug Enforcement Officers April 26, 2014.Langson Ngwira who was arrested and is currently detained at Chirundu Police Station, is of the same residential address as Melton Chilufya. Langson Ngwira said he had obtained the items from a Congolese national by the name of Liyon Papa of House No 202, Harare, Zimbabwe. The two cases have been linked together.
ZAWA has since written to INTERPOL requesting the United Kingdom Police to re-ship the said contraband back to ZAWA in order to assist with further investigations.
ZAWA is once again cautioning members of the public against such illegal international syndicates.