Prince William praised a 63-month sentence for a man who trafficked in rhino horns and ivory from elephants as a “significant victory” this week.
Moazu Kromah, 49, who made millions of dollars illegally poaching and trafficking endangered animals, was sentenced to more than five years in prison Thursday in a New York courtroom.
Kromah, who lived in Uganda, had helped poach more than 35 rhinos and 100 elephants between 2012 and 2019, according to the Southern District of New York. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2019.
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates both what is possible when a coordinated international response is brought to bear against the illegal wildlife trade, and why it is essential,” William said in a statement after the sentencing. “This is a significant victory and a landmark case. For over a decade, its complexity has been skilfully met by a global alliance of international law enforcement agencies, governments, NGOs and private sector organisations, including a number of brilliant United for Wildlife partners.”
In March, Kromah pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and two counts of wildlife trafficking.
William continued that the sentencing was “proof that we have the tools to combat this insidious crime” and a “testament to international cooperation.”
He said because of those involved in the case, “hundreds of endangered animals and the communities that live alongside them have been protected, sending the strongest possible message that together we can defeat the illegal wildlife trade.”
Prosecutor Damien Williams agreed. “Today’s sentence demonstrates that those who are responsible for the decimation of global populations of endangered and threatened animals protected by international agreements will face serious consequences,” he said.
Kromah, along with two co-conspirators, Amara Cherif and Mansur Mohamed Surur, were members of a crime enterprise based out of Uganda and other African countries that engaged in large-scale trafficking and smuggling, including approximately 190 kilograms of rhinoceros horns and at least 10 tons of elephant ivory worth at least $7.4 million.
In March and June of 2018, U.S. agents intercepted separate packages containing rhino horns intended for buyers in Manhattan.
The prince has been a vocal advocate for conservation for years, including the nonprofit United for Wildlife, which he founded and was involved in bringing Kromah to justice, according to People magazine.
William also founded the Earthshot Prize, which awards grants for environmentalism.
The Royal Foundation, a charity founded by him, however, controversially keeps investments in a bank that backs fossil fuels and also invests in a fund that advertises as green but owns shares in large food companies that buy palm oil from companies linked to deforestation.
The Royal Foundation said by email to the Associated Press that it had followed Church of England guidelines on ethical investment since 2015, and goes beyond them.
“We take our investment policies extremely seriously and review them regularly,” the statement said.
It’s not clear if William has any role in the investment decisions of the charity.
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