Alumni in Focus

Tanzania’s Prosecution Team Dismantles one of Africa’s Largest Ivory-Smuggling Operations

Paul Kadushi

Paul Kadushi

Director of Asset Forfeiture, Transnational and Specialized Crimes Division, National Prosecutions Service, United Republic of Tanzania

Paul Kadushi serves as the Director of Asset Forfeiture, Transnational and Specialized Crimes Division for the National Prosecutions Service of the United Republic of Tanzania. In this role, he oversees the prosecution of all transnational organized crime in Tanzania, including wildlife, drug, and human trafficking. Additionally, he serves as the head of the Prosecution Department for the National Task Force Anti-Poaching (NTAP), a multi-agency task force that provides a unified law enforcement response to deter wildlife crime in Tanzania. 

Director Kadushi has played a critical role in prosecuting wildlife and organized crime offenders across Tanzania. Director Kadushi served as the Lead Prosecutor in a high-profile trafficking case, in which a notorious ivory trafficker known as the “Queen of Ivory” was convicted of smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants. The 860 pieces of ivory, smuggled to Asia over the span of several years, weighed nearly 2 tons and were worth an estimated 13 billion Tanzanian shillings ($5.6 million USD). In the sentencing hearing, which concluded in 2019, the Queen of Ivory received the maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. Director Kadushi led the prosecution team in coordinating the complex investigation into multiple high-level offenders, including two criminal partners. Each received 15-year sentences for leading an organized criminal group. 

Director Kadushi participated in ILEA Roswell Session 64, the Executive Policy and Development Symposium on Transnational Organized Crime – Wildlife Trafficking and Model Law, in 2018. This inaugural wildlife trafficking symposium, taught by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), was attended by criminal justice practitioners from Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zambia. Of the seven Tanzanian participants who took part in the ILEA training, three were involved in the prosecution of the Queen of Ivory. In addition to Director Kadushi, State Attorneys Wankyo Simon and Salimu Msemo were instrumental in securing successful prosecutions in the Queen of Ivory case.

Director Kadushi highlighted two key takeaways from the wildlife trafficking symposium. First, he noted that wildlife crime should be investigated and prosecuted as a serious form of organized crime. Second, he noted that as with other types of transnational organized crime, wildlife crime is driven by opportunities for profit. Thus, financial investigation is an instrumental part of dismantling organized crime groups. “Results of both these methods and techniques yielded key evidence which led to the conviction and maximum sentence for the Queen of Ivory,” he remarked. He also noted the value of practical knowledge shared by the FWS instructors, particularly with regards to “Operation Crash,” an ongoing FWS effort to detect, deter, and prosecute those engaged in illegal rhino horn trafficking.

Following the Queen of Ivory sentencing hearing, Tanzania amended the law to extend the minimum sentence for wildlife trafficking crimes to 20 years. This increasingly stringent penalty, as well as the recent series of successful prosecutions, sends a clear message that wildlife traffickers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. As the result of the crackdown on wildlife crime, Director Kadushi noted that Tanzania has already seen positive outcomes, with elephant populations on the rise once again.