Zimbabwe police investigate Grace Mugabe​ over ivory smuggling claims

25 March 2018 - 00:43 By Daily Telegraph
Grace Mugabe
Grace Mugabe
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwean police have launched an investigation into Grace Mugabe over allegations that she headed a poaching and smuggling syndicate that illegally exported tons of elephant tusks, gold and diamonds from the country.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa sanctioned an "urgent" investigation into Mugabe's activities after "very strong" evidence was uncovered by Adrian Steirn, an Australian photojournalist.

The former first lady was named as the mastermind of the illegal operation by two suspected poachers who were later arrested in a police sting after trying to sell tusks to Steirn.

She has not yet been charged.

Steirn posed as a customer for contraband ivory to infiltrate the smuggling and poaching networks.

In an interview he said he decided to launch the investigation after hearing rumours about Mugabe's complicity in trade during several years reporting on wildlife crime in Africa.

Mugabe did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Read this full story and our exclusive interview with the former first couple in the Sunday Times