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October 23, 2018

Wildlife traffickers’ assets to be seized

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba

The bank accounts of wildlife traffickers and criminal gangs will be frozen and their assets seized.

 Their visas will also be revoked under a new initiative by the UK.

 Money launderers and tax evaders will be pursued in the latest efforts aimed at disrupting criminal networks and targetting individual bosses.

 This has been made possible after UK’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced a new joint initiative with the Foreign Office, to target wildlife traffickers and criminal gangs and tackle the global scourge of the illegal wildlife trade.

 Under the new initiative, many countries, including Kenya, will benefit from funding of £3 million (Sh395 million ) from the DFID.

 The funds will come from a mix of new money and allocations from pre-existing budgets, and £0.5million from the Foreign Office.

 This money will be allocated equally between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Egmont Group, through the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership.

Read; Wildlife amendments will be more realistic

 Mordaunt said, “We can only stop the illegal wildlife trade by targetting the international gangs and criminal networks, which essentially drive it.”

 UKAid is directly supporting efforts to recover illegal assets, disrupt organised crime networks and stop the flow of dirty money to protect endangered and trafficked species.

 “The illegal wildlife trade is driving endangered species on the brink of extinction and robbing communities around the world of vital income. To truly end this crime we need to tackle corruption, which allows the trade to flourish,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. 

UK-funded Global Wildlife Programme worked with Kenya’s Parliament to enact the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, which increased both prison sentences and financial penalties for wildlife-related crimes.

A landmark illegal wildlife trade conference is being held in London, attended by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.

Also read;Human-wildlife conflict on rise as animals seek food and water

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