Despite many obstacles, tangible achievements were made over this period in LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF in the fields of investigation, arrest, prosecution, media exposure, government relations and international activities with focus on the fight against corruption, wildlife trade especially international trafficking in ivory, other elephant products, lion and leopard skins; Chinese traffickers of giant pangolin scales, dealers in African Grey parrots, primates etc.
In an unprecedented and exceptional move, a wildlife case for the first time was forwarded to the Special Criminal Court by the Cameroon Government. For every 6.5 days a major wildlife dealer was arrested, 96% stayed behind bars from the day of arrest and corruption was observed and fought in more than 80% of the cases. Operations focused on international trafficking and Chinese traffickers. 54 new cases were brought to court, 23 dealers convicted and more than $63,000 to be paid as damages. Media exposure was at a rate of 1 media piece per day.
Replication concretized in Guinea-Conakry and TALFF – Togo launched with good operations. GALF Investigator, RALF Coordinator and a wildlife official from Uganda trained in regional exchange program. LAGA Director was invited again by ILEA; by the European Parliament to speak in a joint hearing of Development Committee and Organized Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering Committee. LAGA and PALF participated in CITES 16th CoP in Thailand on government delegations. LAGA Director travelled to Kenya to work on the Kenyan and Ugandan Replications of LAGA.
Governance issues, lack of collaboration and breach of procedure by some MINFOF Delegations were prominent during this period - sabotaging investigations, not participating in operations and writing of PV, unprocedural release of arrested dealers etc. Because of these and other prior governance issues, a joint letter was addressed to the Minster – MINFOF by LAGA, WWF and WCS to immediately remedy the situation. Specifically for LAGA, more criminals had been illegally released by MINFOF Delegates in the past year than in the whole of 10 years of work that preceded it, combined. Two criminal investigations held concerning ivory stock management and CITES, joining a worrying trend of unprecedented governance problems in MINFOF