Investigators from the parks and wildlife authority have handed documents to police showing that the former Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe spirited large consignments of ivory to China, the United Arab Emirates and the United States among other destinations, Sunday Mail reports.
Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba confirmed receiving a report but declined to elaborate when questioned by AFP.
The report accused Grace Mugabe of ordering officials to grant her permits to export the ivory as gifts to the leaders of various countries.
“Once outside Zimbabwe, the ‘gifts’ would be pooled together with other consignments of the product and routed to black markets,” The Sunday Mail reported.
A senior official in the presidency, Christopher Mutsvangwa, told the paper the government was tipped off by an unnamed whistleblower.
“Police and whistleblowers laid a trap for suppliers believed to be working for Grace Mugabe,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The culprits were caught and that is how investigations started. When we were confronted with so much evidence, there is no way we could ignore.”
The paper said police may question the former first lady soon.
Zimbabwe has suffered rampant poaching of elephants, targeted for their ivory tusks which are used for ornaments and medicines.
At least 400 elephants died from cyanide poisoning in Hwange, Zimbabwe’s biggest national park in the northwest of the country, between 2013 and 2015.
But parks director-general Fulton Mangwanya said poaching had declined since Mugabe’s ouster.
“Poaching levels have dropped sharply in Hwange because the market has been disturbed,” he said.