A month after being arrested by the railway police in possession of Ntoum 4 tusks of ivory totaling 14 kg, Mr Kevin Bondouaboka was tried and convicted of possession and marketing of elephant ivory, a fully protected species. He gets a one (1) month suspended prison sentence and payment of FCFA 200,000 for damages.
Although weak, the legislation still provides a penalty of up to six months in prison and fines of up to ten million FCFA. Mr. Bondouaboka who tried to escape would have to undergo a much harsher sentence, a reason probably why the prosecution appealed. So he remains in custody and will be judged on appeal.
This case demonstrates once again the lack of effect of the Gabonese law relates to a phenomenon yet to enormous impact both economically and environmentally. For comparison, Mr Bondouaboka have copped a maximum of 5 years in Congo, Cameroon 3 years, 1 year in CAR, 5 years in Benin, Burkina 5 years and 2 years in Togo.
When you know that the original ivory seizures of Gabon are conducted around the world, it seems necessary to take a firm stand against the ivory trade. For example a seizure of 30 kg of ivory that would Gabon was conducted last week in Benin. In Togo, it is 3.8 tons seized in February, mainly from Gabon.