Shamu, Mpofu deny illicit ivory dealing

Three government ministers are involved in the illicit hunting of elephants and dealing in ivory through their concessions, investigations by The Zimbabwean have revealed.
Minister of Policy Implementation, Webster Shamu dismissed as untrue allegations that the Huntin

g Safari he allegedly co-owns with Charles Davy was involved in illicit deals. Another minister, Obert Mpofu, of Industry and International Trade, also said that he wasn’t involved in any illicit deals after highly-placed sources alleged that he ran a hunting concession and traded in illegal ivory.
Shamu denied that he is a co-owner of HHK Safaris together with Davy, but investigations show he is one of the directors of the company, which was implicated by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority in illegal hunting operations as well as illicit trade of ivory. Another minister (name withheld), who could not be contacted for comment has also been implicated.
Sources at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority revealed that a recently-impounded consignment of an undisclosed quantity of ivory led to investigations implicating HHK Safaris, which has operations based mainly in Matabeleland as well as in neighbouring Mozambique.
“The impounded consignment came after a lot of efforts by the Wildlife Authority aimed at establishing information regarding what clearly appear to be shady deals by a number of companies,” a top source said. “HHK has been under investigation and it became easy to link a lot of things when the impounded consignment was traced to the same company.”
Shamu flatly dispelled reports and information linking him to the company and said: “I am not involved in any hunting or trade of ivory”. It was difficult to obtain comment from Davy. A woman who answered the telephone at HHK Safaris’ offices in Harare, said: “Minister Shamu is part of the business but he is based in Harare and I don’t have his number.”
Mpofu runs a hunting concession operating by the name of his farm, Kanando, which has been implicated in illegal hunting of elephants and other wild animals as well as trading in ivory illegally.
“The minister (Mpofu) runs the operation and it was discovered to be dealing in ivory as well as other animal products,” a Parks and Wildlife official said. Through highly-placed sources, this paper recently discovered a syndicate of agents said to be working for Mpofu. A place in Bulawayo was discovered, which is alleged to be the base for keeping ivory as well as processing of elephant skins by Mpofu’s company.
Mpofu also flatly denied the allegations and refused to further discuss the matter.
Zimbabwe has been surreptitiously bartering tons of ivory with China, in return for military hardware amid reports the State has been systematically pillaging natural resources and poaching endangered elephants to enrich a few ruling elite.

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