Govt probes Tanzania Revenue Authority on wildlife smuggling By MIKE MANDE and ADAM IHUCHA Posted Sunday, May 22 2011 at 12:45 THE EAST AFRCAN TANZANIAN CONSERVATIONISTS are furious over delays by the Government in unearthing an illegal wildlife trade. The smuggling syndicate has sucked in Government officials from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) with one of the employees at the agency getting retired in June last year. Reports indicate that in November, 2010, Qatar Emiri Air force landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) and flew out 136 live wildlife worth $113,715 to Doha in Qatar. It took the Tanzanian security organs five months to discover wildlife had been smuggled out. Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander, Lucas Ngh'omboko, told The EastAfrican last week thatinvestigation is underway in Dar es Salaam. The preliminary report shows the deal involved government officials, International traders, airport security personnel and ground handlers. It is estimated that the illegal trade in wildlife fetches between $10 billion and $20 billion a year, making it the second-largest global illicit trade after drugs. Certificate of valuation of smuggled wildlife by game officer, Oscar Julius Lipili, indicates that four giraffes, regarded as ‘Tanzania's national symbol', were among the animals smuggled out. Others include the Oryx, Thomson's gazelles, Impalas, Dik Dik, three Elands, 20 Grant's gazelle, Seven Kori Bustard, four Ground Hornbill, two Lapet Faced Vultures and a Serual Cat respectively. On the list was one Secretary bird, five spring hares and two black verreoux Eagles. Patience Minga, manager TRA in Kilimanjaro, said the animals were transported out when the customs office at KIA was closed. "TRA is shocked that its Preventive Assistant, Miraji Msakamali who is implicated in the scandal retired on June 30, 2010," she said. Kilimanjaro airport operates 24 hours but the important offices like TRA do not thus leaving a loop hole for the syndicate to smuggle out animals and other goods. Gaudence Temu, Managing Director for Swissport Tanzania Limited, the ground handling company said Swissport is far from the scam and that Equity Aviation Services only hired carriage equipment apparently to load the animals.