Two suspects convicted of ivory trafficking (Kenya)


The Nation

Date Published

See link for photos. 

Yesterday one of the accused, Ibrahim Samson Ali, was sentenced in Mombasa Court 2, (sitting in court 1) by Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti to the following: 

— Count 1: Dealing in 6.5 kg (elephant ivory) of wildlife trophies – fine of KSh 10 million or in default 7 years in jail. 

— Count 2: Possession of 6.5 kg (elephant ivory) of wildlife trophies – fine of KSh 3 million or in default 10 years in jail. 

A pre-sentence report was ordered for the second accused, Japhet Bakari Mbuguni for September 9th.

Two suspects, including a university student, charged with trafficking in 8.5kg of elephant tusks have been convicted. 

Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti ruled that prosecutors had proved their case against Ibrahim Samson Ali and Japheth Bakari Mbuguni for offences they committed in Mombasa three years ago. “I have considered the evidence tendered by the prosecution and submissions by the accused persons. It is my finding that the suspects are guilty as charged,” the magistrate said. 

Mr Ali’s bond was cancelled and he will be remanded in custody pending his sentencing. 

Mr Bakari, 27, has been in prison since 2019 after failing to post a Sh50,000 bond. He also failed to provide evidence that he was a Moi University student at the time he was arrested and charged. Since his arrest in 2019, he had made various claims in court to seek sympathy. 

Earlier this year, he told the court that his father had died on March 15 and wanted to be allowed to attend his funeral.

Police investigated and reported to the court that Mr Bakari’s father, who resides in Kwale County, was alive and healthy. 

Yesterday, Ms Nyaloti explained to Mr Bakari that he had been kept behind bars since 2019 for his own security. “I did not want to release you on bond and then after a few days, we get a report that you have been killed. Your security is part of the reasons we kept you in prison,” she said. 

Mr Bakari has asked the court to consider the three years he has spent in prison when it sentences him. 

Mr Ali and Mr Bakari are accused of possessing nine pieces of ivory weighing 8.5kg and worth Sh850,000. 

Police discovered the elephant tusks hidden in a white 50kg sack of dry maize. Mr Ali had previous criminal records, the court heard. A letter from Interpol shows that he was convicted of a similar offence by a Ugandan court. 

Key witnesses in the current case had feared for their lives, were put under police protection and used aliases when they testified. 

The order to hide their identities came from the High Court after they told Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji that they could only testify if they were put under witness protection. 

In his many court appearances, Mr Bakari maintained that the charges against him arose from his romantic relationship with an undisclosed tycoon’s daughter.  

He alleged that his girlfriend’s father was the owner of the elephant tusks that they were arrested with. He claimed he had been framed by the tycoon, whom he has not named and who allegedly warned him against the love affair. “I found myself in this problem because of the love affair. Her father did not approve of the relationship because of my poor background,” he claimed in court in 2019. 

The two will be sentenced on August 23.