|University||West Virginia University (WVU) US|
Case Study 2: The Ivory Queen
|Key payment mechanisms:||Cash-based transactions
Domestic bank transfers between the accused
|Crime type:||Illegal trafficking in wildlife|
|Legal charges:||1. Participation in criminal activities of the organized criminal group
2. Organizing, directing, aiding, abetting, facilitating or counseling the commission of a crime involving an organized criminal group
|Trafficked commodity:||African elephant tusks/ivory|
|Seizures:||860 tusks, worth TZS 5.4 billion (USD $2.7 million)|
|Defendants:||1. Salvius Francis Matembo (Tanzanian national)
2.Manase Julius Philemon (Tanzanian national)
|Date of arrest:||April/May 2014|
|Period of criminal activity:||2000-2014|
Jurisdiction: United Republic of Tanzania Yang Feng Glan, a Chinese national based in Tanzania (a.k.a “The Ivory Queen”) was charged with the trafficking of 860 elephant tusks between 2000 and 2014. She was charged alongside two local Tanzanians for trading in illicit ivory. The three accused were found guilty after a lengthy investigation for engaging in the unlawful collecting, buying, processing, transporting, and possessing of African elephant tusks, accounting for almost two tons of ivory along with being charged as being involved in organized crime.
Yang Feng GlanLeader of operations and main buyer. Yang Feng Glan settled in Tanzania in 1975. Fluent in Swahili, she worked as a translator for a Chinese company building a railroad between Dar es Salaam and Zambia. In 1998, she opened a restaurant in Dar es Salaam that was popular with both Chinese ex-pats and wealthy locals. Before her arrest, she served as the secretary-general of the Tanzania-China Africa Business Council. The Ivory Queen employed several local contractors to support illegal operations at different locations and distributed cash payments to various individuals for sourcing, transporting, and hiding the ivory.
Manase Julius PhilemonLocal conduit and facilitator. Manase bought tusks from dealers within and outside Tanzania and would sell them to Yang Feng Glan and other buyers. He was responsible for monitoring the illicit trade and was the main link to buyers in Tanzania and in international markets.
Salvius Francis Matembo: Collector and transporter. Mambo transported elephant tusks from local dealers from different regions of Tanzania. He was also reportedly working with dealers in other countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Mozambique. Prior to the criminal activity, he dealt in cattle, grains, and secondhand vehicles. He was allegedly involved in the sale/purchase of stolen cars.
- Cash Transactions: Cash would be distributed regularly to syndicate members (three-four times per month) on the premises of businesses linked to Yang Feng Glan. Once the ivory was weighed, members of the network involved in obtaining, transporting, and storing the ivory would receive cash The Ivory Queen employed several local contractors to support illegal operations at different locations and distributed cash payments to various individuals for sourcing, transporting, and hiding the ivory. Local contractors engaged to assist in the wider business operations (e.g. individuals working as security) were paid TZS 60,000 per month in cash (approximately US$30.00).
- Domestic Bank Transfers: The syndicate used bank accounts opened in two well-established global banks for personal and business transactions. Bank slips were retrieved as part of the original investigation however limited funds were transferred between the three key accused.
- Mobile Money: Money was also allegedly transferred via the use of mobile phone applications, but further details were not available in court records.
Corruption vulnerabilities: Matembo allegedly offered to pay a cash bribe to an arresting officer to disrupt the law enforcement investigation.
Convergence: No other linked crimes are known.
A number of assets were identified as part of the investigation including:
- Assets owned by Yang Feng Glan: a Chinese restaurant (Dar es Salaam), a house (Dar es Salaam), a black pepper farm (Tanga), and a groundnut oil factory (Dar es Salaam).
- Assets owned by Manase Philemon: a bar and a motel in Majumba Sita (outskirts of Dar es Salaam) acquired in 2011 during the period of illegal activity.
- Assets owned by Salvius Mambo: a grains kiosk and trading in second-hand vehicles.
Forfeiture and Recovery
Tanzanian law only supports conviction-based asset forfeiture and proceedings remain ongoing.