FIVE prominent Kenyan businessmen are on the Kenya Wildlife Services radar for their involvement in international ivory trade.
The five are key elements in the international ivory trafficking cartels, KWS deputy spokesperson Paul Muya said yesterday.
Speaking during a KWS recruitment in Mombasa, Muya withheld the suspects’ names, citing interference with investigations and legal implications.
“We are collecting evidence to ensure it can be presented in court for prosecution,” Muya said.
He said the five suspects are key players in an organised crime network stretching from African parks to Asian markets, where demand for ivory is high.
Muya said KWS is working with several agencies to arrest the five, whom he blamed for rising incidents of poaching in Kenya.
He said Interpol is sharing classified data with Kenya to help investigate and possibly prosecute the individuals.
KWS spokesman Paul Gathitu said the launch of an inter-agency anti-poaching crack unit will help the war on poaching.
The unit comprises specialised officers from Administration Police and General Service Unit.
Gathitu said KWS has a shortage of 400 personnel to effectively patrol the vast national parks, wildlife conservation and sanctuaries.
“We are targeting 600 rangers in this countrywide recruitment. KWS is seeking to modernise its security operation systems and troop deployment,” he said.
Muya said the establishment of a Sh200 million forensic laboratory at KWS headquarters in Nairobi will play a vital role in prosecution of ivory trafficking cases.
Interpol was behind the arrest of Feisal Mohamed Ali in Tanzania and his extradition to Kenya.
He will face trial for having and dealing in more than two tonnes of elephant tusks.
A Mombasa court has reversed an earlier decision granting his release on bond on medical grounds.
The CID is among the agencies probing questionable transactions of the suspects allegedly linked to crimes against the environment.
Muya said the investigation will help arrest the financiers of poaching.
He said they are well connected and known by intelligence agencies.