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Attorney General holds key to ivory stock-pile burning

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The future of government’s plan to burn about 6.6 tonnes of ivory stock-pile, to show its commitment to the fight against elephant poaching and illegal trafficking, now lies in the hands of the Attorney General.

In April this year, the government decided against burning the s tock-pile. Former Minister of Tourism, Kondwani Nankhumwa said at the time that government was advised that another 2.6 tonnes of ivory awaited the conclusion of court cases.

In September the plan was dealt another blow when the Tanzania successfully obtained a court order in Mzuzu preventing Malawi from burning 2.6 tonnes of ivory, saying it needs to use the tusks as evidence in some related cases in their country.

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In an interview on Monday, Director for Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kunchedwa said Tanzania asked for what the legal fraternity calls the mutual legal assistance and the request was forwarded to the Attorney General’s office.

“So, as the department, we cannot do anything now and we handed over the issue to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecution] and accordingly to the office of the Attorney General. So we will be advised by them on our next step. Of course we are expected to provide some assistance in the process,” Kunchedwa said.

AG Kalekeni Kaphale said he did not have the most up-to-date information on the progress made as, at the time of the interview, he was abroad.

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“I do not have the latest information on the issue as currently am outside the country. May be the line ministry may tell you something new,” Kaphale said.

Tanzania’s court order banned the burning of the ivory for three months.

Records show that Malawi’s elephant population has halved since 1980, mainly due to poaching.

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