A Mombasa court was on Thursday told how a man was charged with being in possession of ivory worth Sh44 million used a closed canter to transport the items from a house in Tudor area.
Mr Abdul Halim Abbas, a witness, said he received a phone call from the accused, Feisal Mohammed Ali, asking him to go and help Mr Ali with a vehicle to relocate household items within Tudor area.
He said he could not make time to help Mr Ali transport his items since he was busy elsewhere doing other job.
“Since I was held up elsewhere, I contacted another driver known as Kassim Hassan to help him,” he told Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache at KWS headquarters Marine Park, where the case was heard.
After about 5 minutes, he said he received a phone call from Mr Ali informing him he had met with Mr Hassan who was going to help him relocate the items which he descried as ‘domestic stuff’
He said he had known the accused before the incident since he had transported sugar and rice for him.
“I knew him three years back since he had given me orders to transport him sugar and rice from Shimanzi to Bondeni within Mombasa County, I knew him as a businessman,” said the witness.
Mr Hassan told the court that when he arrived at the Sparki area near a petrol station, he saw Mr Ali who drove in black car with a Tanzanian registration number.
“We exchanged words briefly, but he declined to use my vehicle since it had an open body.He gave me Sh300 and we left,” Mr Hassan, who was a witness, told the court.
DECLINED TO USE
About 20 minutes later, Mr Hassan called Mr Abbas informing him that Mr Ali had declined to use his car saying it could not appropriately transport the items since it was an open canter.
The court was told that the accused turned down two open canters that he had requested for to ferry the items he had claimed were household items.
Mr Ali and four others are accused of being found in possession of 2,152 kilograms of ivory on June 5 in Tudor, Mombasa.
The other suspects are Abdul Halim Sadiq, Ghalib Sadiq Kara, Praverz Noor Mohamed, and Abdulmajeed Ibrahim.
They have denied the charges.
Another witness, Abdul Razak Abdalla, whose vehicle had been used in the alleged transportation of the trophies told the court that he had known the accused for more than six months since they had met at Baluchi Mosque.
“I frequently met with the accused at the mosque, I trusted him and that is why I agreed to give him my vehicle at a fee of Sh4000 per day,” he said.
Mr Abdalla said the accused approached him and asked him to hire his vehicle which he said he was going to use to ferry table clothes at his house in Tudor area.
DISAPPEARED FROM MOSQUE
“He hired the vehicle for two days but overstayed with it for four days, during that period, he however called assuring me that the vehicle was in a secure place,” he told the court.
Mr Abdalla said after the accused had used his vehicle, he disappeared and stopped going to the mosque where they had met.
“I only saw the accused in the news headlines that he had been arrested with ivory worth millions of shillings. I feared for my life too and regretted why I had given him the vehicle. I knew the police will come after me,” he told the court.
Mr Abdalla was arrested but was later released. He claimed continued detention of his motor vehicle has made him a poor man.
The accused’s lawyers Michael Oloo, Jared Magolo, Pascal Nabwana, Moses Kurgat and Gikandi Ngibuini cross examined the witnesses.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alexander Muteti told the court that they would be seeking for the forfeiture of the materials involved in the case in the event of conviction.
“The fifth accused is a liability company and that through its directors, the company is equally guilty of the offence, at the end of trial we would forfeit the land, vehicles and premises where the tusks were recovered,” he said.
Mr Muteti added they would be making further prayers that the tusks be released to Kenya Wildlife Service for disposal.
The hearing continues on Friday and three witnesses are expected to testify.