23 October, 2017

Exposed: Rajapaksa’s Blood Ivory Robbery: Justice Rohini Lies Internationally

Despite Sri Lanka’s obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, there has been a surreptitious move by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to misappropriate an entire stock of blood ivory seized by the Sri Lanka Customs, the Colombo Telegraph can exclusively reveal with the documentary evidence today.

On 19th December 2012, on the orders of the President Rajapaksa, the Director General of Customs was directed by the Presidential Secretariat to hand over the entire stock of blood ivory to the Presidential Secretariat to be utilize them for a ‘magnanimous trust work’ launched by the Presidential Secretariat and the DGC Jagath Wijeweera directed the Additional Director General (Enforceemnt) to ‘attend soon’  to the President’s directive.

Any ivory seized shall be destroyed

Despite an international ban adopted in 1989, the global ivory trade seems flourishing. And according to the statistics published by the National Geographic Magazine, last year alone over 25,000 elephants have been killed mainly in Africa to satisfy the human greed for blood ivory, resulting Africa’s elephant population and range dramatically shrinking. And in 2011 poaching hit the highest levels with the greatest impact in the central Africa region.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was adopted in 1973 to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species and Sri Lanka is a party to it since 1979. This convention requires that any ivory seized shall be destroyed. This is to show the world that there is zero tolerance of illegal trade of blood ivory worldwide.  And the Philippines Government in keeping with its obligation under the CITES have taken measures to destroy over 5 metric tons of blood ivory seized by the Philippine authorities, with an estimated street value of over $10million, in support of the global effort to end the illegal trade of wild life species. The ivory will be crushed using a road roller and burnt in the presence of foreign experts and anti-ivory trade advocates on 21st of June 2013.

In June 2012 Sri Lanka Customs seized 1.5 metric tons of ivory smuggled out from Kenya when the shipment was in transit in the port of Colombo destined to China via Dubai. The said seizure was made following a tip-off from the World Customs Organization’s Regional Liaison Office for Asia and Pacific Region (RILO-A/P) based in Seoul, South Korea.

Rajapaksa regime swindles the CITES

Despite its obligations under CITES, there has been a surreptitious move by the Presidential Secretariat to misappropriate the entire stock of blood ivory seized by the Customs and on 19th December 2012, on the orders of the President Rajapaksa, the Director General of Customs was directed by the Presidential Secretariat to hand over the entire stock of blood ivory to the Presidential Secretariat to be utilize them for a ‘magnanimous trust work’ launched by the Presidential Secretariat and the DGC Jagath Wijeweera directed the Additional Director General (Enforceemnt) to ‘attend soon’  to the President’s directive.

Blood ivory seized by the Customs

Blood ivory seized by the Customs

However, sensing that higher ups in the echelons of power were up to a racket to lay their hands on the entire stock of ivory seized by the Customs, some print media accused the government of violating its international obligations under CITES.  This was followed by a query by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the state agency of Kenya protecting its wildlife. Based on the press reports that the ivory is to be released, the KWS queried from Government of Sri Lanka about the impending act. With these developments the government immediately backtracked from its move pretending that there was no truth in the accusations leveled against the government.

Gross denial of the government wrongdoing at CITES conference

In the meanwhile the CITES Bangkok conference was scheduled from 10th to 12th March 2013. And the topic for discussion was on Wildlife Crime with special reference to Securing Enforcement, Ensuring Justice and Upholding the Rule of Law. At this conference, the government of Sri Lanka was represented by Justice Rohini Marasinghe of the Court of Appeal (now appointed to the Supreme Court).

Justice Rohini Marasinghe

The fate of the haul of ivory seized by Sri Lanka Customs was a hot topic in the summit and international criticism was launched by Dr. Kala K Mulqeeny, the National Advisory Councilor at World Wildlife Fund (WWF – the leading international body in wildlife conservation and endangered species), against the government’s alleged move to misappropriate the entire haul of blood ivory against the laid down procedure of disposal of seized ivory regulated by the CITES. Justice Rohini Marasinghe vehemently rejected the accusation, saying that they were baseless and unfounded. When a similar accusation was leveled against the government by the Leader of Opposition on 21st of February 2013, in Parliament, the government spokesman too made similar statement that there was no attempt whatsoever, made by the Presidential Secretariat to misappropriate the blood ivory violating its international obligations under CITES.

This is just another example of Sri Lankan government’s routinely adopted deceptive policy, whenever its deplorable and untoward actions were challenged in whatever forum, whether internationally or locally of which the people of this country is tired of, but forced to keep silence in fear of repression.

At least now following the example set by the government of Philippines which announced yesterday that it would destroy 5 tons of seized ivory under international supervision, the Government of Sri Lanka should admit the wrongful attempts made to misappropriate the priceless blood ivory and to initiate immediate steps to destroy the entire stock of 1.5 metric tons of ivory under international supervision, sending at least a late message to the world community that the government of Sri Lanka too is against the illegal trade of ivory and the merciless massacre of elephants.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    Why it should be distroyed, there should not be Market Value for sucha item. becuase if it’s not distroyed mean It will courage the people whoes killing the Elepahnts for Ivory.

  • 2
    0

    Rohini daughter of [Edited out]

  • 2
    3

    I’am wondering whether destroying the ivory is the correct thing to do.If the demand continues to be there some more elephants are going to be killed to satisfy the demand.Maybe it is better to identify where the ultimate users are and negotiate with them a price for it and flood the market and douse the demand.It should be done when the price of ivory shoots up and then when the market is flooded suddenly all those who do business with ivory will get bankrupt.When these businessmen know that the governments have stocks of ivory in reserve to flood the market anytime they want,then they will be very wary to get into that business.

    I myself once did that in Srilanka when I was managing a business.There was a shortage of the product and many businessman from pettah and armour street started to import it from India.I just waited building up stocks without releasing them into the market and when these small time businessman had extended their credit facilities to the maximum,i released the stocks at a low price and flooded the market wiping most of them out and they never came back ever.

    • 2
      1

      Shankar, You are an Indian… well done for the article. thsi is what should do

    • 4
      1

      if the ivory is given to the temple, this increases suppply (due to high demand), if u destoy it: less demand seen & reduction im supply

    • 4
      0

      Mr Shankar

      You may be a brilliant Goni Bothal Businessman. But the Illicit Trade in counterfeit ivory is way beyond your league.

      And please find a more appropriate website to amuse yourself.

      Best regards

  • 7
    0

    MARA will even suck the blood of Elephants if he gets money . The Mara family is so much greedy for money who have already made billions of through illegal means but the war victory against Tamil gives hands for them to do what ever they wand without any checking. God to save the country.

  • 4
    2

    Mara and Gotta counting their days do not worry , next election wait and see

    • 3
      1

      With computer jilmart there is “no wait and see”. It is a win-win situation at all times for Hitlerpaksha and brothers!

  • 5
    0

    I am against using elephants at peraheras.

  • 0
    4

    Its LTTE propaganda, all false, no truth.

  • 1
    2

    We will stop cattle slaughter because we are racists. Not out of any real concern for the poor beasts. We can’t be bothered about some mythical elephants from Africa. Indeed, I don’t believe there are any elephants outside Sri Lanka, the holy land.

  • 6
    0

    Why did anyone expect sympathy for Elephants from a group of thieves who had no sympathy even for poor Tsunami victims (they were human, you know) is beyond me.

    What surprised me was that the people of Sri Lanka, even knowing full well about the fate of the Tsunami victims, decided to select a king-pin from the the shanty town of Madamulla to guard the hen-house. Ouch. Talk about bad judgement!

    Nothing “People of Sri Lanka” does surprises me anymore.

    • 5
      0

      You know why they select a King-pin from the shanty town…….Because they themselves (90%) Ninety percent live in shanty towns and villeges and want some of them resembling to them to be the Kin-pin.

      It is common sense. Baboons select baboons and Buffalos select Buffalos in the Jungle. No difference here.

    • 6
      0

      Yes, the people made this dictator a “tsunamipathy” !

  • 5
    0

    I CANT PRINT WHAT I THINK AS IT IS NOT GOOD. ALL OF OUR ANIMALS SUFFER BY THE HANDS OF STUPID PEOPLE..THEY ARE KILLING GOD’S CREATIONS FOR US TO ENJOY. I PRAY ALL THIS STOPS……..

    • 1
      0

      Joan Berryman what you trynna say buddy?

  • 4
    0

    Not comprehende. You yelling at de elephants? Dont be doing that. Those are innocent creatures. Not Greedy Rajapassas. Rajapassas are greedy, stupid cows who will destroy everything and anything to earn money, power.

  • 2
    0

    Where is GNASARA [Edited out] MANK ? 77,000 Gay Manks in Sri Lanka.. where are they? why not burnthemself? is Elephant is HALAL?

  • 0
    3

    wow so this is somehow news! .. the ivory should have been burned !!!!!! no wonder all the tamiz and their gods died like fools on in the lagoon . I am all for banning these journolists . send them to where fedrics janz went .

    • 3
      0

      This is their country – their regime, their administration.

      Even at the time, colossal amounts of dollars worth millions were found under the pillow of the Air Lanka Chairman, nothing like investigation was carried out. Nobody bothers to raise it now either. It is all because he is President^s brother in Law. So the custom should have sized many of the illegally imported drugs and all illegal items – who knows they the rulers would just distribute among them. THat is how I believe Mervin as a minister have now made millions to this date. No proper investigations are held – nobody seems to care of anything. In Germany, just for no reasons it president had to resign a year ago. All the transactions that he is said to have made before entering to the presidency.

      I have the feeling, in our country, there is zero progress to the democracy, instead we experience a rule of uneducated rascals that would promote all illegal activities in and out of the country.

  • 0
    2

    Next elections, these idiots in SL will vote these thugs back to power. Count my words, this will happen.

    • 3
      0

      No surprise there!

      Last week I saw Wimal Weerawansa on video explaining his appearance at the enquiry regarding his wife’s passport fuckup.

      You know, the rich natural oil on his face was shining. All the illgotten wealth, his gloating, his crass arrogance and his contempt for everything civilized all on display for the whole world to see. Weerawansa being just a crony, just imagine the brash of the puppet masters MaRa and GoRa. I thank my stars I never have seen them in the flesh. Such a blessing!

  • 4
    0

    When is B. Rohini Marasinghe resigning the post of Supreme Court Judge?

  • 2
    0

    The embedded letter from the Presidential Secretariat gives the lie to the official “stories”. It is also clear how far the President’s pimps and secretaries are willing to go to give “satisfaction in every way” to their Lord and Master.

    Shame on all those whose names appear on that letter. They should commit suicide.

  • 1
    0

    Marai!…..How MARA’s people can get away with lies……

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