A Mombasa man accused of being in possession of elephant tusks worth Sh1.4 million has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
Morris Mulimu was convicted after the court found him guilty of committing the offence in April last year.
Mombasa Resident Magistrate Martin Rabera said there was no doubt that Mr Mulimu was found with the tusks based on evidence on record.
“Having carefully peruse submissions by the prosecution and the accused, the court is satisfied that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and proceed to convict the accused as charged,” the magistrate ruled.
Mr Mulimu has 14 days to appeal the verdict.
He was accused of being in possession of 13 pieces of ivory weighing 28 kilograms without a permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Police said Mr Mulimu committed the offence at Changamwe Petrol Station where he was arrested while he was looking for a market for the tusks.
Assistant Warden Jackson Munyanga who testified in the case said the 13 pieces of ivory mean that up to nine elephants were killed.
In his evidence, Mr Munyanga said after receiving intelligence about the suspect, he acted as a buyer and went with the respondent to a petrol station where he had kept the tusks.
“After a brief negotiation, the suspect went for the tusks and when he came back, he was carrying a sack which had the tusks, we apprehended and booked him in custody,” he said
A specialist in animal remains modification process told the court that he examined and confirm that the tusks were from nine elephants.
But in his defence, Mr Mulimu denied committing the offence arguing that police planted the ivory to fix him.
“I had attended church on that day, as I stood waiting for the vehicle to return home, two police officers approached me and associated me with the consignment which was not in my possession,” he said.
The magistrate however said witness testimony were corroborated with those given by police officers.
“There were no suggestions whatsoever that there was grudge between the accused and other witnesses, the evidence by the defence that exhibits were planted on him seems to be an afterthought,” he said
The magistrate further noted that witnesses gave elaborate account and operational process that led to the arrest of the suspect.
“The said process was so intertwined and which successive that it left no room to doubt that the accused was indeed the one who was in possession of the trophy without permit,” he said.
The suspect pleaded with the court for leniency saying he was a first offender and a bread winner to his family.
“I am a widower, I have children who depend on me,” he said.