Mauritius

April 19, 2013

Rosewood Traffic: Involvement of Former Minister Confirmed

It is a delicate situation in which risk of being bit by a former minister whose involvement in the trafficking of rosewood from Madagascar and Mauritius supposed.

The “Custom Forensic Investigators” retained by the government to investigate this case confirm the information of the Mauritian police about telephone conversations between the former minister and his contacts Madagascar involved in a vast network of smuggling.

In a report submitted to the local authorities, foreign consultants argue that this lucrative traffic branches in Burma, Thailand and China. "The delivery of cargoes to Asia is facilitated through fake export permit" show investigators also involve three local companies. Authorized sources, it is us that the interrogation will soon start.

Survey axis Madagascar-Mauritius-China

The seizure by the Mauritian customs in June 2011, a large shipment of rosewood from the Grande île had revealed that traffic between Madagascar and Mauritius. The case caused a stir at the time, so that the Prime Minister had appealed to “Custom Forensic Investigators”  to make it light.

During their investigation, the “Custom Forensic Investigators” set sail on Madagascar, China and Hong Kong. They, by the information obtained by the Mauritian police during a mission in Grande île shortly after the seizure of six containers of rosewood in Port Louis, could perform a thorough investigation into the axis Madagascar, Mauritius . A list of suspects has been established.

Experts also sifted through the Mauritius-China network, the Middle Kingdom is the final destination of the cargo transiting through Mauritius. Reports by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) campaigning against the illegal trafficking of timber indicate that imports of this species is listed by the Convention on International Trade in endangered species, increased from 66,000 m3 in 2005 to over 600 000 m3 in 2012.

In addition to the investigation by foreign experts, local authorities, namely the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) and the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) has started an investigation into possible offenses of money laundering. According to our cross, it may be that some of the money from these illegal activities has been placed in the Mauritian real estate sector with the purchase of luxury villas in the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS).

Given the complexity of this case, the government had also requested the assistance of the World Bank to undertake a “Forensic Audit” to track all those engaged in the export shipments of rosewood on the Grande île. But at this stage, no information is available about the impact of this application.

 

Text by Le Matinal
 

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