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Pieces of Seized Ivory Traced to UWA :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Pieces of Seized Ivory Traced to UWA

The seized consignment was disguised as telecommunication equipment reportedly from MTN destined for Amsterdam for repairs. It consisted of seven large wooden boxes filled with ivory and pangolin scales coated with aluminum sheets. Authorities have now discovered that the consignment contained 791 kilograms of ivory valued at about shs 1.1 billion and 2029 kilograms of pangolin scales valued at over shs 2.5 billion.

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Some of the pieces of the ivory confiscated at Entebbe International airport on Wednesday can be traced back to Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Uganda Radio Network has established that at least 3 of the 136 pieces of ivory confiscated this week bore markings by Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA, and had parts of them cut for DNA tests.

The seized consignment was disguised as telecommunication equipment reportedly from MTN destined for Amsterdam for repairs. It consisted of seven large wooden boxes filled with ivory and pangolin scales coated with aluminum sheets.  Authorities have now discovered that the consignment contained 791 kilograms of ivory valued at about shs 1.1 billion and 2029 kilograms of pangolin scales valued at over shs 2.5 billion.

This discovery now raises concern on the existence of a racket that deals in contraband and its possible linkage to storerooms in different government agencies.

Jossy Muhangi, the Public Relations Manager at UWA has confirmed that the three pieces can be traced to UWA and that although most of the markings have been erased, some patterns were still visible. Muhangi says he doesn\'t rule out the fact that this could be part of the larger consignment that went missing from the UWA stores last year.

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In November, Uganda Wildlife Authority was stunned when 1335 kilograms of ivory valued at shs 3 billion went missing from its own strong room in a scandal that led to the suspension of a number of officials including the Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Seguya.

Lodovic Awita, the commandant of the aviation police says they have already discovered the place where the ivory was packed before attempted shipment although he refuses to reveal the location for fear of jeopardizing investigations.

The police also recovered weighing scales and tools for cutting and shaping the ivory. Awita says investigations are ongoing and a few people are already in detention.

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This is the fourth consignment of ivory to be confiscated in the last two years.

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