Annual Report 2014

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. Focus was on the fight against corruption, the illegal wildlife trade especially the specialized illicit trade in ape parts including fresh chimpanzee and gorilla heads, limbs and skulls; ivory and elephant products trafficking and the illicit trade in giant pangolin scales and leopards skins . The wildlife law enforcement operations carried out this year also busted international connections in ivory trafficking, ape parts and giant pangolin scales. This year, LAGA focused on the illegal trade in ape skulls uncovering an unprecedented magnitude of this specialized trade with 77 ape skulls seized and 25 traffickers arrested. 

86% of those arrested stayed permanently behind bars from the moment of arrest and during the trial process while 10% were granted bail along the line and 4% were released and never prosecuted. Corruption was observed and fought in more than 80% of the cases. Operations focused on the illicit trade in ape parts and the trafficking in elephant bones and ivory while demonstrating the link between the two. 50 new cases were brought to court, 18 traffickers convicted and more than $326,000 to be paid as damages. Media exposure was at a rate of more than one media piece per day. 

Replication was concretized in Senegal - EAGLE replication, with SALF starting operations and AALF-B was launched in Benin with good operations. A Kenyan jurist and AALF-B assistant coordinator trained in LAGA while a jurist from Gabon was with the legal department on the platform of EAGLE regional exchange program. 

Governance issues, lack of collaboration and breach of procedure by some MINFOF delegations were prominent during this period - sabotaging investigations, refusal to participate in operations and in writing of offence statement or signing it, influence peddling, etc. Because of these and other prior governance issues, correspondence were addressed to the Minster – MINFOF by LAGA.