25 January 2013

Kenya: Duo Charged With Smuggling Elephant Tusks

TWO men, including a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) official, were yesterday charged with the smuggling of ivory said to be the largest haul ever recovered at the Mombasa port.

The Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Ports Authority detectives yesterday tabled in court the two suspects believed to have been part of a gang that conspired to pass the 638 pieces of ivory through the facility.

James Ngala Kassiwa and Gideon Naftali Osinyo were arraigned before Resident Magistrate Irene Ruguru. The two are alleged to have conspired with others not before court to illegally pass 638 pieces of ivory weighing 3827.5 Kg through the port between December 27 and 14 January.

The ivory was worth Sh382,750, the court heard and was stuffed in a 20-foot container number FSCU-7615101 en route to Thailand. The cargo was cleared as decoration stones by clearing agents who used fake papers to get the cargo inside the port, detectives said.

The suspects denied the two counts but their attempts to win bail were rejected by Ruguru who directed them to plead for bail with the trial court. Hearing was set for March 13.

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