Second conversation with Mr. Nbouke in early July after he had spent several weeks in jail. It was recorded under bad condition by the stringer for AP in Lome as was the first conversation which took place just after the arrest. Since Mr. N 'Bouke has been warned that he will not be allowed to see any more visitors and if he keeps talking to third parties his 'mouth would be smashed in '.

What is important at this point is that obviously no one demonstrated any willingness or will to do it but somebody has to do it. I was going to do it. What you know about these places, someone sees these places and then they can give the information to the right person. Because these people they will not move, they won 't do anything because they are involved in a one way or another even if it 's only a little bit.

So I have to speak with xxxxx.

I don 't know if it can get you out of here, if only for a morning, it isn 't easy at all.
We cannot deal with them even if we had something? I could fight for it?

Uh, I don 't know. The house here I believe, when you have the name of the street behind, the hotel of xxxx). You're going at the end of the street. You see a fence and you turn left. So you go in there a little, there is a small house whose construction is not completed. And before you see the door there, now they have put sandbags. Here you will find the house, the fence and some decoration. This is not a very, very large house. This is his home. The workshop is behind xxxx in the field of xxxx. His brother 's workshop, that 's where I said that he was working at night, it 's a little after the workshop of xxxxx.

(inaudible)
( I 'm not even sure that 's French here ? ? During this interview session he often reverted to a local language)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Okay okay.
They also said somewhere - earlier when I was talking about 10,000 elephants. It is said that you have rented, -how to put it- those who kill elephants?

Poachers?

I don 't know any ivory poacher but the ones I brought from Chad - at the time almost all officials from Chad were selling ivory. I didn 't search for a poacher and didn 't ask him to kill the elephant. Right?
Almost all official were selling ivories. I came from Chad at the time because I came to work for President TOMBALBAYE, I didn 't come to buy ivory. At the time the ivory was not forbidden. France says they respect rate since 78. I was in Chad in 74!

I saw a note in your shop send by the Embassy of France?

That was the request. The Embassy of France ordered the head office of military cooperation to send me a circular letter on the amount of money that I had to sell to the French.

1000 French francs, it was at the time? I read the leaflet signed by a defense attaché.

It is the document the lawyer asked me about.

Just yesterday I went through there, it was there.

Every day, he looked for it but didn 't find it.

It is in the store.

Yes yes this is the document we're looking for now. The last time - well during the search - when the lieutenant came to me, he took lots of paper and this document was one of them. I asked Mrs. xxxxx to ask the judges if we can give them the entire file so that they can get it out there.

And that document what did it mean exactly?

That document is a circular letter that the ambassador gave ​​me to go and sell ivory to the French.

Ok was it a selling authorization ?

It is a circular letter asking me, allowing me to sell ivory to the French up to the price of 1,000 French francs.
Yes that's it, the lawyer said that this document is very important.

This is a copy which is in the shop?

Yes it is a photocopy. I made several copies. Whenever a French person buys, we issue him a receipt and we attach this document.

So they continued to buy?

The date is not limited, they didn 't limit it. Even if they did, they haven 't sent me a letter terminating the sale.

So that's one of the documents. The Other documents are ones from the CITES? You managed to get and renew right?

Yes, the special permits for possession import and export that the Government of Togo had issued to me when I arrived with the ivories to settle here. They delivered those to me in 87 or in 89, when the Togo returned in CITES. But when the Togo returned in CITES, the system was that the countries that had a stock (of ivory) have been resisting and they came to me to promise that the CITES wanted to give quotas to countries that already have and at that time they allowed the quota to those who had to sell it. There had been several meetings and when they came back to tell me that they granted quotas to Japan and to China because they were large consumers and South Africa, Namibia and Botswana also feature a large amount. After those they said they would take care of the small ones!

Like Togo?

Yes like Togo, and each time they have always told me the same thing. They never gave me the quota. They said about two years now, after they said 3 years, after that it was 10 years. But what is clear is that the stock I brought from Chad, for which they issued me a special permit to possess, to import and to export still exists and that's why they came to make inventories home. And the last one was last February. This inventory was initiated by the ministry, probably because the Director of Forest and Hunting called me and asked me to gather everything I have, every ivory in one place. They came to make the inventory because they knew I had a stock of ivory from the time they issued those special permits. (brought from Tchad)

And a special permit, I would like to know if in fact you are paying a lot of money to have it?

The permit? No, we did pay, but they were not very large amounts of money.

How much?

Well I do not know. He will ask the lawyer to get the document for you. We were paying amounts of 40,000, which were paid to the treasury of Togo. It is the minister of forest and hunting who signed those at the time and the environment minister who signs now.

So it was just the amount that? They were not large amounts?

No no. No no.
I'm not the only one affected by this; there might also be Petit Prince who was also in the area. I think he operated in the same mode and should have the same papers.

Hm. But while there were problems, etc. , were there officials who were trying to solve the problem by offering you money?

No.

No?

No. There was no facilitation? No form of facilitation?

No, no.
I said when talking about problems with CITES, I have not had any problems as such until the last time when the director of forest and hunting telling me that Togo has indexed because because because. This is the answer I gave him. But they did not tell me anything like that, but what I was asking them, despite the efforts I made, I asked the director to create a cell of two or three people every time I have information that I can contact so they can work on it immediately!
Since the dealer is not going to keeps his ivory just waiting.

So actually, to define you, you would say you are a sculptor and a local vendor ivory? you 're not a dealer?

I'm not an ivory importer. I am an artisan sculptor. xxxxxxx which I am talking about, works for the Chinese who give him big amounts of money, he operates with customers from Tanzania, Burundi. And the ivories, I think they land them in Legos and from Legos they take them to Lome. They take them by Ahki.

Ahki ?

A truck carrying the baggage from Legos to Lome. They bury the thing in and it arrives to Lome. And it is known as peo see it and they came to tell me. People I talk to them. So why do they do nothing? Why aren 't they working on it? Do they have an interest in it? I do not know.

You remember that I asked you last time if there was some kind of facilitation regarding the work of the Guineans because someone benefits from facilitating this work?

Certainly! But I 'm not aware. But these are people I follow because I was Togo, Togo installed, obtained permits and at the same time I was told that there was some regulations and that I must wait for me they do that. However they let people who have not registered, who do not pay taxes and do nothing, operate with impunity and sell ivory?
But I saw that! I have to sit back and let them?

Well. Regarding ivory 's transport. The last time you were talking about some kind of planes. What is the preferred transportation 's mode or company for ivory?

I know they talk about freighters (freight planes) leaving Central Africa. I talked about it long enough with the judge. They leave Central Africa and they do not report the ivories. I'm not the one who organizes the flight to see how they actually do it, but they certainly benefited from many forms of complicity at Lome airport! Perhaps from the station manager, the stewards, the head of the customs office. Those who conceal the follies and departurest.

There are also Ethiopian Airlines?

I cannot say because I do not have proof.

In any case these are the tracks that we are going to probe a little to see what happens. But do you have an idea of the people who have the habit to send ivories by plane?

Dispatching ivory to Lome by airplane? I do not know but according to my investigations and complicity I received from the Guineans working and carrying ivory. Before preparing the container, I think it is by sea, I do not see a container being shipped by airplane.

What goes through planes? Nothing gets by planes?

To exit Togo ?

Yes.

I don 't know. Not that I am aware of.

And to come to Togo?

There are the freighters (planes), yes they work with freighters that bring ivory to Togo.

Ok and what about the baby elephant teeth who have been found in Hong Kong?

The baby elephants?

Yes I mean the tusks of baby elephants.

Baby elephants?

Yes not big small tusks which were recently seized in Hong Kong. And Malaysia?

I am not aware, I don 't know.

The 24 tons... ?

Did I once had 2 tons? I never lent ivory, two tons of ivory. Even a ton I never had so much! I had brought from Chad around 950 kilos! I've never dealt with a tonnage of ivory. I was the officer who gave me and from where and I did what. I am one who is against the export of raw ivory. First reason, it encourages poaching, when there is poaching, it will make the ivory is rare and when the ivory becomes rare, artisans like me will have no raw material to work with. First reason. The second reason is that when the Chinese came to invade the area, the price of ivory rose from 25,000 francs to 200,000 francs.

For what? 25,000 francs to 200,000 francs per ton?

Per Kilo. That 's why almost all small Togolese artisans no longer work with ivory.

The market has lost its course?

There is only this xxxxxx with his brother that  understand  the story of sale of ivory, Lome, Legos: wherever they go through! BecauseXXXXX, he  knows the key!

He is no longer a craftsman?

He is no craftsman; he no longer works in ivory!

Is he importing?

Yes, yes, from Nigeria  and Burundi , he has his brothers there , friends there whom he distributes money to that lead him to the ivory. He only is organized to make shipments from and to the containers.

Is what you could describe this person to me, make me a little portrait?

XXXXXXXX is a gentleman he is not very large or robust either. His face is kinda triangular and his complexion is a little pale.

Ok , ok .
How old is he approximately?

I 'd say 40.

He is young then?

Yes he is young .

Do you know the Chinese with whom he deals here ?

No.
They must be many, Chinese came to me ask me to sell them raw ivory. I do not have raw ivory. I do not have stock of raw ivory for sale. But in my efforts against trafficking, I helped to arrest a Chinese man. He resided in xxxxxx, I think he was born in xxxxx , his parents are from xxxxx, he comes to operate in Togo and was called xxxxx .



Do you call all Chinese people xxxxx ?

No, He is called xxxxx , and this as the first time I met him . What happened? I had a sculptor worker who was Guinean, called xxxxxx . He unfortunately died not so long ago, in his 30 's. I was not aware of anything. I was sick one night and he called me from Burkhina and he told me : he told me he went to get the packages of ivory that were sent to Congo Airport in Lomé and police intercepted him and in fear, he fled and left the police with the taxi that contained ivory package. I thought it was weird. He made descriptions with one of his friends. But I flattered him, chatted, chatted until he came to Lome. I talked with him for a long time. Even my kids told him he had to tell the truth , that I could fix all this. He refused. And that's why I brought the story to the attention of a friend CWO (chief warrant officer). He stopped and talked with him and he began to see the truth. And he invented excuses to escape, he said he was suffering from hemorrhoids and wanted to be treated. When I was told that I said: oh you should not have let him leave!
And we tried to organize ourselves to seize him the next day at home, but he had already left the day before. And that's why we put everything together and seized his witnesses and learned that it was said these ivories were sold to a Chinese called xxxx . And his Guinean friends were helping the Chinese to go there. It was night, I came home. And the next morning, the very night actually I told the CWO to take care of him because this case with ivory, it is a matter which concerns the Ministry of Environment. We needed to report this the next morning or to bring him for questioning. And the next day when I arrived, the CWO told me that the authorities came to harass him and took him .

Do you know others apart from xxxxx who are active today? To put us on the track?

xxxxx I know his brother. Xxxxxx a and its network, there's another young man who works in the same workshop as him, who took over. His name is xxxx.
I do not know if he left Lome since this story, but until I now he was in Lome. And he has extended his activities to Benin. According to information I have, he took things in Benin until  in association   with a head of customs called xxxxx . At this point I had a friend there, Mr. (door slamming), he unfortunately died but we had formed a team. He reported the arrival of vans or trucks of  ivory. They had taken the same trucks bound to led them to Abidjan because we suspected that there were packages leaving for Abidjan, but the guinean  who worked with us , put us on the wrong track because he warned the Guinean. He was also a Guinean, he betrayed us and told them and so the truck left early . So they unloaded and there was nothing in it. After that, Mr. xxxxx was sick and died.

Ok, since they're questioning you here, I guess ... you were offered some concessions ? They seem to have you arrested for learn more about the network.
You give them information right? Do you feel that they are serious?

Well during questioning yesterday , the judge asked me many questions about the network. I 'm not part of the large network, but what I know , I've been telling to the ministry , I asked the director of forest and hunting to do as I said , I told the judges.

But is that, that in return, when you give them the information, they would agree to hear more information and to release you ?

I do not think my lawyers led me to this kind of bargain, because for them if it is not me who is it? If I am not responsible? If I am not the author, if I'm not part of the network, who is it? This is not me, I'm not part of the network, but what I know , what I've said to the ministry  , what I 've done with the management of forest and hunting indicating the places and asking them to go to such and such a time, that 's all.

And the developments in this case , they are not ready to release you , given some information you could hand to them?

This is not why I said , my lawyers did not go there because they arrested me with charges, according to the prosecutor , regarding the ivory they took from my home and he spoke of Asia and Pakistan where people have said that it is I who sold ivory there!
That's what my lawyer told me.

Did they tell you about the charges?

Not yet.

It's just what your lawyer said then?

Yet , the lawyer insisted that if they don 't have any charges, if they don 't find any, it cannot continue. The judge said that we will manage. They showed me nothing. They told me about 80 kilos- 82 kilos of rhino horn in Hong Kong , they said it was me.

Did they show something or clearly indicated anything to the lawyer or they only told him?

The lawyer did not receive my entire file today. That's why he fights. Justice has not submitted a case yet accusing me because that is what we have seen, this is the proof, that paper! and this is why my lawyers are daggers drawn with the judge.

How many lawyers do you have?

2 .

Maitre  xxxx and Mrs. xxxxx

Two women?

No Mr. xxxxxx .

Oh, it's a man. Do you think that what was seized at the shop, they still have in their possession? Do you think they have kept it?

Well I can 't know that.

You hope to get it back when you come out?

Normally yes ! I do not think I am guilty of anything !
If it's quota , they are the ones who promised and they never did it (to export the old ivory brought in from Tchad). But a CITES expert came to visit two or three times at the ministry! and they always ask them to see if the Government of Togo can find support for measures until this issue is solved . Then in front of me one day, after visiting me in the afternoon, xxx , minister at the time , made me summon through one of his advisers , Mr. xxxxx and arriving at his office, I saw him there talking with the minister. And he had made ​​a proposal to Togo ! Which one? To Design a seal to identify every of my old ivories and extend the measure to the people of Togo , by communicating and asking people to identify the ivories . And I tried for several years, even after the departure of xxxxxxi . Why they refuse to do so? If they had done it, now from all they have taken me, they could tell, if it does not bear the seal, they could tell that it is not part of my old stock !

I talked with xxxxx etc. about your family life , for someone who is known to be the greatest ivory dealer in Africa, I saw the house in which you live. Tell me about the conditions in which you live that makes you a person who is different from a dealer?

I am an ordinary Togolese, like all others, living a life like any other Togolese. Perhaps what is different in me is that I'm generous, I share, I give to others more than I spend.

You do not live an extraordinary life?

What is the extraordinary life? My studio , my house, my field . My car I bought it already used in 96.

Your children do not go to big schools?

Which schools? My son did the NDA. The other is HDI. My eldest daughter died but she was taking classes in xxxxxx at the time. The other who just had a baby, I did not even have the money to create a bakery for her.

She lives at home?

Yes, I have no money.

No house in France?

No, I only have the one house in Lome.
I have no other home. I am a sculptor. I get up in the morning; I go to my studio in the morning. What I have to do, I do. And that's all. I do not sell raw ivory. I am not an ivory merchant or an ivory dealer. What I said is to be checked.

The  xxxxxx you told me about, this is the little brother? The older brother, who is it?

xxxxx is the big brother; the little brother is xxxxx.

xxxxxx It is he who is in Lome at the moment? xxxxf he went to Guinea.

Yes xxxx  I learned he was in Kankan, he installed a water preparation plant there. He earned money, it is the truth. Because  he made it in  his ivories. But I, it is not money -

A ton of ivory how much it pays ?

If the ivory is sold in Africa 200,000 francs for a kilo, then it's 200 million. That's 200 million.

Per ton. This makes billions!

Yes of course! I do not have a billion, I have only one account where you will find only 50,000 francs. And today UTB is suing me for a debt of 35 million, the decision came today. Why? Because now I am no longer in  the ivory business, I make packaging bags of jute I was selling. I participated in consultations for SOTOCO but SOTOCO never paid me.

Jut bags?

Jut bags, bags in which coffee and cocoa are store.

Ah so you did this and you are in debt?

Yes the news came in last week, I do not have an account elsewhere, I do not have money elsewhere! I have nothing. Moreover, they only have to check. They came, they took all my bank documents, checkbooks and old stuff, and they just have to go and check.

Ok so this is good. I think -

There are things that we should not forget xxxxx, xxxxx is one of the most important who is hiding but in my opinion he is not to be overlooked ! Because if he took after xxxx, who hijacked three shipments  of 600kg , if he continues to do it twice a week , that's how many tons ? 8 tons. 1 ton and 200 kilos a week.

xxxxxxx, xxxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxxx,

Those who are in the semi- work.

These are all Guineans?

All guineans!

xxxxxx, that's how it's spelled?

It is xxxxx.

Ok , so you have to focus on xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxx ?

Yes, only Moussa lives in Kankan now .
The other has his home in xxxxxxx. But I think the house was searched and nothing was found. According to my information, they must have a hideout in xxxxxxx and xxxxxx but I have not visited it, this is information from people who have worked with me at some point .

I'll check with xxxx , or perhaps with the one that you introduced me to at the police office , they can take me to Petit Prince 's shop , if I can locate this shop there and locate the place behind shots -

No it is not Petit Price, it is the workshop ofxxxxxxf . It's behind xxx, in xxxxx .

xxxxxx  workshop, who is hiding, his workshop. He has another house inside which he was selling bronzes. These are his friends.

Bronzes ?

Bronze objects. There are his friends. There are his friends. To prepare the containers, they cut it (the ivory). They are the ones who give me information, where they will take the ivory

They are talking about one year in jail or something like that? What do they actually tell you?

I am not the author of what they accuse me and they are not able to give me proof of why I am accused. So I cannot speak about it. I do not feel guilty about what he accuses me. I am a practicing Catholic Christian; I was one of the few Africans who worked for some time in the basilica holy stone (Basilique Saint Pierre in Rome). I showed the president when the pope visited Togo , Pope John Paul II, the president had asked me to give him an idea of ​​what he could offer as a gift and I told him that what would be good would be a long rosary as I have or images of the passion of Jesus.

It is ivory? (talking about the rosary)

No no it is not ivory, it is pearl.

Then fell on a sculpture on the 14 stations highlights the passion of Jesus. And that's what I realized with  two tusks of 140 pounds. The president offered them to the Holy Father during his visit to us in August 85 . The Pope refused to receive the gift without seeing the sculptor because the president boasted the talents of one of his son from Togo. So he flew to pick me up. I prayed with the pope, I showed him my rosaries; it was a pride for Togo. The President was very proud. And that piece is exceptionally exposed in the Basilica of Saint Pierre in Rome, where almost all the major figures in Africa who are passing through there, they were taken to see. Ambassadors, who saw and who came to see me in Togo.

It is the pride of Togo?

Yes so I said today, in art , in sculpture , I am a model. A sculptor with experience, with talent and people working in workshops today at my age in Africa, that no longer exists. There is no one doing this anymore. And all the gifts, all the great state gifts offered after are pieces from my shop.

And you have not earned money?

I did not work to sell my art for money. I'll tell you how much I got from my work: 3 million.

This is nothing!

He gave me three million, I was happy and I'm happy.

Because you have the president 's respect? Yes it's always fun.
You are a creator then?

Xxxxx  tried to send me to his friend, that's why I went to Chad. The last cane he took, it's me who carved it.

Were there people in your career who have been harassing you , were there people who offered you money to make your job easier ?
I'm not asking you to give names.

I'm not a man who has large openings. I'm not seeing lots of people. This is my job. I have no friends, I don 't have 'relations ' and I do not like facilitation. My child, if you have worked at school , you work , if you have not worked ... I'm not someone who seeks favors. Otherwise why would my money have remained so low since 2002? I did my last delivery in 2005 during the campaign of the first inauguration of the President. I went to SOTOCO (the jut sack business). People told me: you will give them 10%. That was until we liquidated SOTOCO and the liquidator called me. People saw me, they told me, you have to go see this one! You should make him an offer. I 'm not part of this world. But in addition there is something: I fear God. I fear God and I fear the wrath of God.
If someone believes that today God has poured out his wrath on me, that my time here is God 's wrath, I think God is trying to make a change, make a mystery in my life, it can be a way for him to protect me.

How do you understand the situation? (What does it mean to you?)

Well I think that nothing can happen to me without it being God's will, and I guess maybe for a few days , I would not be the subject of the arrest, that maybe something might happen and that maybe I 'm in the hospital in a coma. I am telling you, the Earth does not interest me, what 's up there does and I know there is a book which is open in which my actions are noted. And I'm glad I came here, I 'm trying to win the hearts, I teach God 's word to people who are here. I taught them to recite the prayers, they pray here. (in prison)

The police ?

No, the inmates who were taken in during the case of fire the single market. Before I came here, it was a mess with the police they were going mad. When I arrived I managed to communicate with the police, I showed them how to recite . It is more important to me than the ivory.

So what we'll do ...
(inaudible)
Ok
(inaudible)
Believe in God.
Thank you.

(Someone walking . )

(Some inaudible words most likely because of the wind) .

They did well to warn us.

(Wheezing, coughing. )


But then what we will do , the CITES document ... we'll make a copy ... there are cases that just happen ... nobody takes it upon themselves to go investigate and people ... you know I have not closed. I have not closed. When you returned to take the file. I'll try to ...

(klaxon

Transcript of initial conversation in prison just after the original arrest of Mr. N 'Bouke

When I was going to start working on large-scale delivering, I was -  I was a little delayed.

When I brought the great quantity to install (set up the initial business), I went to see the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture at the time and it was the minister xxxx.

 

(Hmm I remember.)

 

When I explained to him, he didn 't know the twists and turns of the business and he called two of his colleagues. One was Mr.xxxx and another gentleman called xxxxx, who was an office executive.

They went with me to discusss what kind and  how much ivory I was going to bring.

 

(What year was it in?  Was it in 83 or before? )

 

It has to be before 83, it was probably in 81 or 82.

 

(Late 70 's?)

 

Yes yes, after, late 70 's.

he asked them to inspect the stock. They went with me and they came back, they called me three days later they sent me to the direction of Wildlife and Hunting, at the time it was called Forest and Hunting. And the gentleman, who was there when I went, was Mr.xxxx I believe, who asked me to apply for a special permit for the trophy because ivory were classified as trophy. So I did. They called me later in the year for a photo, my id card, passport and money to go get the equipment and that's how it started. I was issued a special permit for possession, special permit for circulation and a special export permit, it was the beginning. And activities began, and every year they asked for updates  until their departure.

 

(You renewed (the permits) it every year?)

 

Yes I renewed every year.

But I think in 89 or 90 , following a meeting in Lausanne, which did not  allow him to give us export permits..., not that, no that it is another permit that allows us to export ivory if the client wishes , it's called CITES .

Our activities weren 't forbidden in the territory but gradually I began to have little trouble, ivories that would not arrive at the airport, fines, and old papers to deal ivory because we must submit the paper to each antenna of the airport and they are inspected and while we pass through customs, they issue a paper called state of consciousness development. As there were difficulties, I was tired and I decided to turn to the president to tell him because we must tell the truth since 85, I have worked on a lot of orders for the president that he offered(as presents) during his travels, which made me gain his confidence and the two splendid great tusks, I had carved, which he offered to the Pope in August 85.

 

(To Pope Jean Paul 2?)

 

Yes, so I made two canes with ebony with ivory with a particular bull 's skin with ivory interior. Working so much for him, I became used to it and one day I talked to his secretary who introduced me to him and I told him. He took his phone, he called, and so we visited the department and asked why they were problems with my name regarding ivory. He said: Who is creating difficulties?

Because I did not go to see him, I told him that for some time , the guys at the antenna (at the airport) -

 

(They did not make things easier?)

Yes, they did not want anymore. That's what I told him, this is when the president really questioned their  behavior and why CITES. He explained that the president had not received him with good humor. I said, ' But how? ' . The whites do not raise elephants in Togo. He severely criticized me because I did not talk to him (first).

 But nobody banned me from doing ivory work; otherwise they would have had to  come to  my studio, which is normal.

Since then I continued my activities, none came to bring me an order, bring me a decree or a paper forbidding me to continue my activities (within the national) territory.

 

Later, the same person called to tell me that they were currently trying to solve the problem with the CITES because they were introducing things -for those who have a certain number of ivories and approved papers by the government- they have to find them a solution. Since then, I have waited until today.

 

(All that time?)

 

Yes, I have waited until today, from 89 precisely. But what has been done is that: in the meantime CITES experts came three times, 89, 90 and 92, I remember and they saw what I had on display and what I have at home. At the time it was Mr. xxxxx,who was thee head of CITES, which also worked at the antenna of the airport, and at the customs in Aflao that brought them, and they were doing inventories, and these inventories can be   found in their archives. That has to be checked.

 

So the promise to give  CITES documents  was never kept.

 

(No documents authorizing early 89?)

 

Mr. xxxxx left the board and Mr. xxxxx was named. It happened again with him, he asked me to do small services, and they seized ivories everywhere. Before, they even issued certificates for  bone carving disguised as ivory and I saw it and asked them to correct because those were Senegalese who sold the bones to customers making them believe it was ivory, I was in constant contact with the leadership and ministry.

 

Xxxx  was gone and xxxxx came, he didn 't do much until one morning when xxxxxx became Minister of Forestry and Fisheries. One morning he sent a delegation to close my shop. The delegation included Mr. xxxxx and Mr. xxxx, I talked to them, so  they didn 't close my shop and they made the department call me and summon me. And when I introduced myself, he did not receive me. He ordered his chief of staff to take care of me. They asked me to bring the papers. The manager asked me to make two sets for the minister so I did so the team then came back regularly to make an  inventory of EVERYTHING. Pieces, pots, dishes ... they did everything.

 

(What for?)

 

I mean they wanted to really know what I had sold and what was left (of the original stock) and if I made any other purchases, which is normal. But nothing came back from the meetings of CITES and finally I was informed that we must wait three years and then come back. I was told they just allowed Namibia, South Africa and Botswana in late 2003 to export to China and Japan. So maybe wait. 7 years later or so, I went back to them, they weren 't talking to me directly. I even asked him to give me information about the meeting so that I could find out things about the customs. Then we were told that there was a new scheme that should start in 2016, I tried to do what I could, but at some point I stood up against the  injustice. I am Togolese. I have worked for a lot of Togolese interests including the museum of Lome : I was the producer. In terms of culture, I tried to do a lot for Togo. I created a craft village for the museum where I put artisans. You know I did ivories at large scales because I had the opportunity to provide xxxxx. President xxxxx is my dear friend and I was his advisor.

 

(Which President was that?)

 

The president of Chad.

He also sold ivory abroad, he sold a lot of ostrich eggs, ostrich skin ... I was introduced to his stepfather and his second wife, I was in Chad. As the situation deteriorated in Chad, the Minister of Justice at the time, Mr.xxxx, he married a Togolese woman. He advised us to take the children to Togo. Both of xxxxxx boys ' I brought them to Togo. We arrived and three days after, a Sunday evening April 26, xxxxx was killed. So that 's my story with Chad. This is Chad that made me bring a lot of ivory, I brought about 950-980 kilos at the time there was no CITES, it wasn 't forbidden to bring in ivory. But there was a head of a branch of a forest area called xxxx who sold me 370 kilos and he had already CITES and the veterinary certificate so he gave them to me. When I came to create my file and get permissions, I used the original documents he had given me so for me I am in order.

 

What is the value of CITES? It is to have technicians who come to check the sample (stocks) to see if the amount for which the authorization was issued is  finished or an unfinished amount and it is their job, not mine, it is their work and that's why they came to do the inventory. That's understandable.

 

There is not a single note, a single decree that was served on me. Initially, I was Pointe d'Ivoire and on that I was given permission from the Minister of Business: to make business, to work and sell ivory. I was in a  (dutya) free zone with Pointe d'Ivoire when and then I got involved in the tape ( music cassettes) business and I created Rose Ivoire to deposit the assets of Pointe d 'Ivoire.

 

And Rose Ivoire was there asleep. When I made the tapes, I was traveling to Singapore, I went to Dubai ... and when things went wrong I returned here to resume some some of my old activities and I had stayed in touch with them. xxxxxx was not present but Mr. xxxx had chaired a meeting. We organized the meeting in the room of the Ministry of environment in seclusion where all actors working ivory including Petit Prince were there. So when I spoke with the chief of staff. She wanted to know more about what I was doing, so she took the initiative to invite all those who worked with ivory including Petit Prince. So we discussed.

 

(Petit Prince is Togolese?) 

 

Petit Prince is Lebanese Togolese. You do not know Petit Prince? They work there and they are with us too. So xxxxx, through the voice of Mr. xxxx asked us to reorganize ourselves in an organized set up to bring our grievances. They said they would see how to address the issue of CITES. As the others are not hard workers, they did not take it really to heart, but I kept walking, walking, walking, and walking. Even After xxxxxx left.

 

(Everything happened at the shop toward the big market?)

 

Across the road.

I walked and walked. He does not know much. Then Mr xxx retired, Mr. xxxx came. We knew each other from a very young age, so I started to go see him with hope, thinking that as we knew each other, maybe he could do something. But he didn 't do anything either. I was talking about injustice. Injustice in the sense that I am Togolese, I pay taxes but Guineans came to settle. They do not pay taxes, but they do underwater activities, so I turned to the authorities to say, 'You need to have eyes on these guys because they bring a lot of ivory here '. They work and they send it to Asia. The phenomenon has grown and they are associated with Chinese who bring a lot of capital. They go to Burundi, Tanzania, they go to Kampala, and actually that 's where their base is: Kampala. They bring ivory, they deal with Ethiopian airlines. I said 'it cannot work.' I went to see xxxxxxx, I said, 'You must take a decision to stop this! This is a bleeding of our country that's all. ' On behalf of CITES, Togo will be overwhelmed by ivory trade . '

 

(Because they do it too much?)

 

Yes they do it on large scale! They(the authorities) did nothing, I suggested to create an antenna and to include me in this antenna, without a wage, without being paid, I wanted to work for them and be there at each landing. If I'm at a point and I see something, I call them and they come. I found a partner in the person of Mr. xxxxx. The day they landed large quantities and put them in containers towards Abijan and Mali: I went to see him. He told me 'too bad' and that the gentleman who was with him was at Poitiers in France or somewhere. This is where I started being really angry against them and I cursed them. But I kept going. As xxxxx couldn 't do anything, I went to see customs. I gave them all the information. Immediately he told Mr. xxx. Mr. Tidi is his superior. xxxx appointed a young inspector to get some news. I know all the networks; I know how much and where the ivories are shipped. Quite often, 80 % of the time, I am aware of the boarding and aircraft deals. I know. Mr. xxxx listened to me; I enjoyed it, once I got information on trucks that were leaving the country with timber and ivory. We went to watch over the issue. Unfortunately the young Guinean which had informed me,  betrayed us, people had gone through another road and they arrived at their destination. We took his car to lead us to Togoville , but they had gone perhaps by the Vogan 's way. So we could not get hold of the ivory. There were occasions when they brought lots of ivory. Once we stopped a truck, customs did unload the goods, but they lacked the ability for the other trucks. But we did not know in which truck everything was. I had teams that were there all the time.

(inaudible) 

The last time, they even took 13 tusks from me the last time they came, without official report or anything. I 'll talk, I 'll talk to justice. They are just trying to make me the culprit and hide their inability or unwillingness to act. I brought them all necessary means and information. Then xxxxx came, I went to see him and I asked him the same thing I asked xxxxx. To set up a cell. He told me he was going to do it, he will do it. ' Then when there was a rumor on ivory in Malaysia, I tried to gather information and I know who  ship it. I cannot say. But he was about to do it, so I went to see the minister. I told them. She received me at least two hours on a Friday night , I told her all the details of how I was willing to go all the way but that I could not find people to do the job . They were surprised and amazed; she asked me if I could continue with them. I told her why not? They told me the first thing they needed was to go to my home to make inventory. They came and did. But if today they talk about the fairness of the inventory, they have to go back further in time, to check the first inventory that we did, what there was in it and what can remain. This is the purpose of the inventory. They weren 't doing anything, I went to see them for the second time, to remind them because I knew there were ivories to come, there was a truck here in Lome , which belonged to a lady I had never seen and was here to go ahead and deliver ivory, I told them that they just had to be ready. That day,  she was surrounded by three of his colleagues; there was a lady and a lawyer. They told me that if I were to see something, to bring it to them. I told them, 'This is not my work. My job is to get you directions. I do not have money, I have no power. I brought you to where the ivories were shipped. 'I 've brought where the containers were loaded, I even brought you up to the wife of the gentleman who said her husband was on a trip. Just come here regularly, there will be something happening. Their habit is that at night they bring a container and in the container, they will put the timber and ivory. That 's how you get your hands on them. I feel that I cannot do more.

(You do not have the strength to ...?)

THIS IS NOT MY WORK. I offered to do so. Since the minister asked me to continue working with them. I took them to all sensitive corners and where they bring ivory. They work at night to ship. I told them ' You have to put a team there permanently. You'll see in a month, people get a lot of ivory '. If they do not do it, do you think I am the one who ought to do it? I gave them all the information on how it always happens. The last time I went to claim the record of the inventory they did in February. They did not give it to me up to this day. They did not give it to me. They are angry, but in bad faith, they told me that I do not have the right to have the official reports. I received courtesy visits 3 times after the inventory. They came to watch, I did nothing wrong. They did not tell me anything. At the last meeting I had with them three or four weeks ago, I told them I would gather all the craftsmen to make their task easier by bringing the craftsmen to them. So that if they have ivories, they come declare it. So I did. I organized a meeting on the 6th, last month. They were reluctant to come, there was even a guy who told us that his comrades told him not to come to our meeting because I was setting a trap so that police would come and arrest them during the meeting. But the meeting did happen, and during the meeting, I prepared the minutes and I sent them to allow them to understand what is happening on the ground a little better. So that is the situation of the meeting. 

And suddenly the police came to my shop.'I did not know why '. They removed all my phones. What's going on? The police said they came to take me to question me, they said they were here to count my ivory so I said 'where is your mandate? ' They said they were the police, I said 'just wait here, I will call the direction of the forest and hunting because they are the ones who know what I have and what I do'. They said no, that they'll just pick everything up first and if I have proof that I will bring it to them to get my ivory back and that 's why they arrested me. Then they handcuffed me. I think it is not fair from Togo.

 

(We're the international press and this is the time to pressurize. You have to tell me everything)

 

If you ask me the position on the ivory trade in Togo. It is the Ministry of Environment who is the culprit, I gave them all the information, everything. There are kings who sailed, perhaps in Gabon, Cameroon perhaps that landed at the port of Kampala. There is another very strong network in Nigeria, which comes to pick the ivories here by those Guinean, they pre produce in Burundi, and then they travel by Kampala. There are workshops in which they work night and day, there is a person who comes, he pays cfa F 60 million, I told them. They told me to go locate the hotel the person stays at, xxxxxxx and his friends told me to go locate the hotel the day he comes again, I just warned them.

 

(With all that information you get them, you feel inactivity from them and they ask you to- ?)

 

I give the information, they are the experts, they have to work this information on their own and go out there to see if it's true or if it is false. My responsibility ends here.

 

(You collaborated in some ways?)

 

Until today. Four days, four days before my arrest I was with xxxxxx. Six months, I was a sort of friend and all the information I brought him

 

(Don 't you suspect some form of collaboration between Mr. xxxxxxx and Guineans, since he seems to make things easier for them?)

 

No, Mister xxxxxxx I have known him since he was just a little agent here. Me, I started with Mr. xxxxxx who became commissioner. I worked with xxxxxx, I worked with xxxxx, I worked with Kxxxxx ... In terms of ivory, I think until now there has only been one person who knows a little because I have helped him and it is Mr. xxxxx, who was chief CITES division and news anchor, but there is not anyone out there who knows more about ivory than I do. I do not ask them to pay me but I bring them together to get Togo out of this situation it is currently facing. That is why I said to the minister. 'If you let cockroaches eat, mice will be trapped '

I'm here, they can do whatever they want with me, I have become a dead sheep, I am no longer afraid of knives. If they want to cut me, they have knives. If they want to operate on me, they have knives, but I hope they do not stop me from telling the truth. If they want to take me to the judge, I'll tell the truth. I'm here, I'm not worried.

 I am a victim of their incompetence.