Originally published in The Nation newspaper on 3rd March 2016. Written by George Singini.

image1The High Court in Mzuzu has given the Malawi Government a go ahead to burn 781 pieces of ivory which Tanzania wanted to use in a criminal case against its nationals.

The order comes after Tanzania failed to make an application to extend a 90-day stay order High Court Judge Dingiswayo Madise granted to stop government from burning the ivory.

The ivory is believed to have been smuggled from Tanzania in 2013 and that some Tanzanians were involved.

The suspects in Tanzania used two Malawian brothers, Chancy and Patrick Kaunda, to transport the ivory to Lilongwe. The two brothers managed to beat Songwe border checks and other security checks but they were intercepted in Rumphi by Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officers.

The Kaundas were arrested and later fined by the High Court in 2015. Madise also ordered government to burn the ivory but the Tanzanian Government, through Mzuzu-based lawyer Christon Ghambi, prayed for an extension of time to allow the government of Tanzania to use the ivory in a criminal case against nationals who were allegedly part of a syndicate to smuggle the ivory in question.

Madise granted 90 days stay order but the order expired in December last year; hence, the order to Malawi Government to burn the ivory on March 14.

The judge called on government to dispose of the ivory in full view of the public and give a report to the court within one week after the burning.