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#98 Important Addenda and Corrigenda to Dispatch #97

Let’s start with the most important one, from Eric Tah at LAGA. Please if you are going to quote anything from my interview with him, use these corrections:

Dear Alex,

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to get this right before actually making it public, I have copied the areas that concern me and or LAGA for the slight modifications which represent what I said and think. I request and pray you make the corrections because it is very vital and essential that the right changes are made within WWF and conservation as a whole. We need to get this right and the truth only, we owe this to humanity and wildlife.

Below are the various sections and the corrections

My name is Eric Tah not Taba

“We at LAGA have a much smaller budget, and we are careful about cost- efficiency, and we look at the kind of money WWF is spending on staff and accommodations, and there is a lot of wastage. It is clear the majority of its projects here are mismanaged (rather: are not well managed). We go over a list that I got from Survival of eight former or current employees of WWF Cameroon allegedly involved in wildlife crime, embezzlement, kickbacks, and other corruption.

(I never proposed any names on this list which you showed me and I saw it for the first time and barely knew the accusations as I saw  most of them for the first time)

1.   Dr Leonard Usongo – the head of IUCN Cameroon; a current high-ranking WWF employee confirmed that he was involved in the trade of African grey parrots

2.   Dr Martin Tchamba – a former head of WWF Cameroon; a former high-ranking WWF employee confirmed that he was involved in the ivory trade

3.   Vincent Anong – said to have been involved in the ivory trade .

4.   The odore Milong “Milo” Etonde – said to have been fired for giving ammunition to elephant hunters; the case was quashed in 2014, because the bullets were traced to a senior military figure, and for a long time Milo was pressuring WWF to give him his job back

5.   Herbert Ekodeck – Ofir can tell you a terrible story of how Ekodeck extorted money from a community and embezzled funds; according to a former highranking WWF employee, Ekodeck was involved in the illegal wildlife trade too and three current employees:

1.   Olivier Njounan Tegomo – said to have been working with “Milo” but there wasn’t enough evidence to dismiss him

2.   Gilles Etoga – Ofir talks about how Etoga deliberately subverted investigations into kingpins behind the illegal wildlife trade

3.   Laurent Some – same as Etoga. He is now the head of all of WWF’s programs in Africa and Madagascar .

Taba confirms (NO I didn’t confirm this list nor the accusations, I rather said I don’t know most of them well and would like to get you someone who knows them better. That is why I called the the guy who discussed with us at the balcony) most of them and tells me about another WWF big shot who would tell young college graduate job applicants, okay you have the job, your salary is (a whopping 60,000 Central African francs a month ($110), but when you get paid, you must transfer 60% to my account. (I talked about allegations about a former WWF big shot who took off a percentage of their salary, I don’t know the percentages. These are students or graduates on internship not employed staff and I got story also from the guy I called) He calls a former employee WWF who comes over and provides three more names and offers to wear a hidden mike and get me direct recorded evidence of corruption. There is a bar in Yaounde where WWF drivers will talk about how much money they have to pay in order to be sent on a mission, he tells me.

“There have been reports (stories rather) of Baka being tortured for years,” Taba says, “and nothing has been done, it’s still happening(strike this off please, not sure I said this). This is the third round of the same problem. So many people are abusing the Baka. WWF is totally uninterested, although they support the ecoguards who are doing a lot of it. So Survival has lodged the complaint with the O.E.C.D. about WWF’s complicity in human rights abuses. But Survival’s information is sometimes not that accurate, (please I don’t remember saying this so I propose you strike this off) so it’s great you are doing an independent investigation of its allegations, and it’s great that an international journalist is finally going after WWF Cameroon (not just Cameroon I presumed).”
.”

[The Minister, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, according to LAGA, is a worthless donothing.] Don’t know who in LAGA said this about Elivs Ngolle Ngolle who is not in office anymore and I think it should be deleted.

I go through the list I got from Survival, tweaked by LAGA and the former WWF Cameroon employee. LAGA was not sure about some of them, and added a couple more. Same as above concerning the list, I didn’t provide any names on the list

They’re getting money from the government [not any more (we never took any money from government)] and doing this?

And Ofir Drori emails:

Alex

two corrcetions

Gilles Etoga – Ofir talks about how Etoga deliberately subverted investigations into kingpins behind the illegal wildlife trade

Not accurate – Deliberatly holding trafficking cases from getting to court while he was an anti-poaching chief in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

[The Minister, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, according to LAGA, is a worthless donothing.]

On the conterary – Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, the former Minister was great!, the currect Minister is wek on Governance and anti corruption, still doesnt mean he is a “donnothing”

IN April, the South African journalist Adam Welz informed me in a Facebook post, Peter Flack gave up hunting. https://www.peterflack.co.za/ last-newsletter-blog-post/ [1]

It was a process, Flack explains, that began with the global outrage over the Cincinatti dentist killing the iconic black-maned lion Cecil in Zimbabwe with a cross-bow, and continued with his removal from the board of WWF South Africa after Survival’s revelation that he had killed a forest elephant in Cameroon. Flack is selling his guns, auctioning off his book collection, and selling his own books for a year, then pulping what’s left. He has nothing left to lose now from telling it like it is, and does in this part of his last blog especially:

“those who have read my recent books and, particularly, the Conclusions, will also have noted my growing despondency at the failure of almost every African government to recognize that, if they only used their wildlife and wildlife habitats sustainably, they could provide opportunities for all their people in perpetuity and thereby conserve both the wildlife and its habitats. But no, the politicians, army and police personnel who should be at the forefront of these efforts are the very ones leading this short sighted destruction and for the basest reasons.

“My recent hunting trips to Mocambique, The Republic of Congo and Cameroon have only confirmed and strengthened this view and I have been taken aback at the increasing pace of destruction, the depths to which it has sunk and the hold that bribery and corruption has gained over the very fabric of society in Africa. It is now the accepted way of doing things at all levels. When I expressed my dismay to a local Congolese recently, his reply was a surprised, “But don’t you know, we Congolese lie all the time?”

Facebook friends also pointed out that Prince Phillip killed an Indian tiger and an African elephant when he founded the WWF and that his co-founder Ian MacPhail quit in disgust; Adam Welz was disappointed by the “amateur opportunistic” conduct of Survival during the campaign to preserve the culture of the last nomadic San “Bushmen” in the Kalahari Desert. There is a whole literature about WWF’s close links with the intelligence community, including Wilfried Huismann’s PandaLeaks: the Dark Side of the WWF, and with multinational corporations that are raping the planet, and about its own corporatization and that of the other Big Con players, including a four-part series on Mongabay.com