January 25, 2018
Robert Kiplagat, The Standard
Two Maasai Morans fined Sh20 Million each or serve life imprisonment by a Narok Court after they were found guilty of being in possession of two elephant tusks weighing 10 Kilograms valued at Sh1 Million.
The duo Ndare Ole Koshal and Julius Kituber Sopia were arrested by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials on January 7, 2015 at Impiro village in Loita area Narok South Sub County while hiding in a Manyatta.
Narok Chief Magistrate Wilbroda Juma found the two guilty after the State Counsel produced three witnesses while the accused through their advocate also produced three witnesses in defense.
KWS officer who testified told the court that on the material day, the officers got information from the members of the public that an elephant had been killed in the area prompting eight officers to respond immediately.
Upon reaching the scene, the officers found a carcass of an elephant with both tusks chopped off. The members of the public led the officers to the huts where the suspects were hiding and when they arrived, one of the suspects, ole Koshal, came out of the hut and threw a spear targeting one of the officers but fortunately missed the target.
When the officers entered in the manyatta, they found the second suspect whereby the two were arrested and taken to Narok Police station.
A search conducted in the house netted two elephant task each weighing five kilograms, 10 arrows, two spears, three bows and two maasai swords believed to have been used by the two to hunt down the jumbo.
But while giving their defense, the accused persons said at the material day, they were not in the said manyatta as they had relocated to another area.
In her judgement, Ms. Juma said the prosecution evidence was very consistent and is believable that the two accused persons were in the same house.
“There is no doubt that the accused persons were found in possession of the tusks as evidence given by the second accused wife (Sopia) shows that he was in the said house at the time of arrest,” she said.
In mitigation, the accused persons said they have young families and that they are the bread winners of their extended families praying to the court to pardon them.
The magistrate said she take into consideration that the two are first offenders, they have dependents but the law treats the offence very serious and the set minimum term is life imprisonment. However, she reminded them of their right to appeal in 14 days.