Tangible achievements were made in LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF, despite the several old as well as new challenges and obstacles encountered during this period. Achievements were obtained in the fields of investigation, arrest, prosecution, media exposure, government relations and international activities with a focus on the fight against corruption, illegal wildlife trade, principally trafficking in pangolin scales and ivory. The team focused on establishing relations with government departments involved in fighting wildlife criminality especially customs services around the country. These activities included the signing of a protocol agreement with Customs and the setting up of a committee to oversee the implementation of the agreement, meetings with regional customs officials and follow up of seizures made by customs. The team strengthened its procedures for greater efficiency and effectivity in order to maximise the use of financial and human resources. The EAGLE network’s Central Coordination Unit continued to provide vital technical and organization support that facilitated several operations. A major trafficking network that stretched over CAR, Cameroon, and Nigeria was dismantled and large quantities of ivory and pangolin scales were seized. Five traffickers including the son of a former finance minister were arrested for ivory trafficking and a baby chimp was rescued in another operation.
32 major traffickers were arrested, at a rate of one per 11 days; approximately 78 % stayed behind bars from the day of arrest. 32 new cases were brought to the courts and 39 traffickers were found guilty. The court ordered the payment of damages totaling 200,211,000 F CFA (about $400,522) to MINFOF by the convicted traffickers. Media exposure was at a rate of one media piece per day.
The EAGLE network obtained good results as 171 traffickers were arrested across the 8 countries within the network. Exchange visits continued among the countries specifically with a legal adviser from Senegal arriving the country for a month-long training and experience sharing mission.
Several meetings were held by the Deputy Director with government and diplomatic officials in Yaounde and with many other stakeholders within the wildlife law enforcement domain.