Poaching: New Pandora`s Box unveiled in Morogoro -Raid on tycoon raises more questions behind the riddle THISDAY REPORTER Morogoro THE whereabouts of a reputed tycoon in Morogoro Region remain unknown following the discovery of vast evidence of mass poaching activities during an unannounced raid on his house early last week. Wildlife industry sources have confirmed to THISDAY that the tycoon, identified as Ally Salum Saidi and better known in the area as Bwanyenye (tycoon being the loose English translation), is on the loose after apparently escaping while the search was being conducted at his residence at Msamvu in the Morogoro Municipality. The sources say game officers and police officers who supervized the search on Monday last week (March 9) found vast amounts of fresh game meat, including the offals, hides and tails of at least four impala, indicating that the animals had been killed no more than two days before. Also uncovered were the fresh full skull of a heart beast and a fresh half skull of another heart beast, plus between 30 to 40 kilogrammes of fresh game meat kept in refrigerators. A Land Rover vehicle was also found parked outside the house with blood stains all over, and it is believed that Saidi, who had earlier tried to show resistance by unleashing his fierce dogs on the searchers, managed to escape through a rear door and jump over a wall. The following day (Tuesday, March 10) a continuation of the search uncovered the fresh skulls of yet another heart beast plus an eland inside a cesspit within the premises. But while the skulls and game meat are understood to have been taken away by the police as exhibits, the whole operation reportedly left behind enough question-marks to lend further credence to a growing official suspicion that law enforcement authorities in the region are actually proving to be a huge roadblock in the nationwide anti-poaching crusade. For example, the sources say one policeman identified only as Jackson raised suspicions by ruling out the need to impound the blood-stained Land Rover as an exhibit as well because nothing was found in it. Even when he was told that veterinarians at the Sokoine University of Agriculture could do a sampling of the blood stains to confirm if it belonged to animals or not, this police officer continued to refuse to take the car away as an exhibit, said the sources. Investigations carried out by THISDAY in Morogoro over the weekend further established that a number of law enforcement representatives, including junior police and judicial officers, are believed to be actively engaged in protecting Saidi, who has long been suspected as one of the regions top poachers. According to our findings, he has been arrested and found in illegal possession of government trophies on at least four separate occasions in the past seven years, but each time he was allowed to go scot-free by the relevant authorities. In 2002, he was arrested with the illegal trophies by the then Morogoro District wildlife officer, identified as S.B. Mawanja, and the case was reported to the Chalinze police under file number CH/RB/299/03. But according to our sources within the wildlife industry, Saidi was surprisingly sprung from detention with just a verbal warning, despite all the evidence (trophies) that the police had. The arresting wildlife officer, Mawanja, was later transferred to Monduli District in Arusha Region. Again in 2004, Tycoon was reportedly arrested by a new Morogoro District wildlife officer, Isaac Mushi, again for unlawful possession of government trophies, only to be set free once more. Once again, the law enforcement authorities only issued a warning and told him to pay a paltry fine, said the industry sources. Mushi was also subsequently transferred to another district, Kiteto in Manyara Region. According to the sources, the transfers of both Mawanja and Mushi are believed to have been sparked by the incidents involving Saidi. THISDAY investigations have further revealed that in mid-December last year, Saidi and at least four others were locked up at the Chalinze Police Station on suspicion of accosting some game scouts and destroyed two of their firearms. The broken firearms were identified as a rifle 30.06 with registration number 23622, and a shotgun with registration number 51328, both government properties. It is understood that the five assailants spent more than two weeks (December 13-29) in the Chalinze Police Station lock-up, before being released on orders from the officer-commanding-station. But according to our sources, the OCS � identified as D.J Chimbehe - issued the release order on the basis of reasons best known to himself. It is understood that most of the poaching in the region is done within the Wami-Mbiki, a pilot wildlife management area (WMA) covering 4,000 square kilometres between Mvomero District in the region and Bagamoyo District in Coast Region, and also covering the Mikumi National Park and Melela, Ngerengere and Dakawa game-protected areas. A source revealed: Poaching in these areas is rampant because of their geographical location. They are close to the Morogoro Municipality and the TAZARA railway line, which makes it easier to transport the poached trophies to Dar es Salaam. Contacted for comment, the Morogoro District Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Officer, Ande Mallango, did not mince words in saying the war against poaching in the district was proving difficult because some members of the law enforcement departments were protecting the well-off poachers. We are fighting a tough war, said Mallango, noting that some people have had to sacrifice their lives in the effort to save the countrys wildlife from total extinction through poaching. However, the Acting Morogoro Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Samuel Mpassa, denied that the police may be protecting poachers. We dont have any cases of police officers, junior or senior, protecting poachers, said ACP Mpassa when reached by phone yesterday. He said police in the region have been conducting and prosecuting poaching cases, while the law also allows wildlife department officers to do the same without necessarily relying on the police. But he added that the prosecution of most poaching cases had turned out to be full of complications.