In a proactive response to allegations of fraud surrounding the sale of fake gorilla permits, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has launched a rigorous investigation, suspending eleven staff members and vowing to hold any wrongdoers accountable.
“Our internal controls and monitoring systems have revealed anomalies in the booking system, which have raised red flags regarding the legitimacy of certain transactions and the integrity of the booking process.” Bashir Hang, UWA spokesperson
In light of these suspicions, Hangi continued, “management has taken swift action and so far eleven staff members who are suspected to be involved in this alleged fraud have been suspended to pave the way for investigations into the matter.”
Regarding the financial impact, Hangi mentioned, “Currently, thorough investigations are underway to establish the facts surrounding these allegations. We have not yet established the losses occasioned by this fraud and we hope that the investigations will establish that. We are committed to ensuring that appropriate actions are taken against any individuals found to be culpable.”
Additionally, Hangi expressed concern about the possible involvement of tour operators, stating,
“It has also come to our attention that some tour operators may be involved in colluding with UWA staff to facilitate fraudulent activities. Investigations are underway to determine the extent of this alleged collusion.”
Gorilla tourism generates significant revenue for wildlife conservation efforts in Uganda.
“We are committed to ensuring the integrity of the permit booking system to avoid any revenue leakages,” Hangi emphasized.
Highlighting the broader mission of UWA, Hangi declared, “UWA’s primary mission is the conservation of Uganda’s rich biodiversity and the protection of our unique wildlife, including the endangered mountain gorillas. We are dedicated to preserving the natural heritage of Uganda for generations to come. Any actions that compromise the integrity of our organization or the safety of our wildlife are unacceptable.”
As the investigations continue, the UWA remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding Uganda’s wildlife and ensuring the authenticity and integrity of the gorilla permit booking system. Conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts worldwide are closely watching these developments, eager to see justice served and the protection of Uganda’s natural treasures upheld.