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KES 800K bail for men nabbed with elephant tusks

18 February 2014, 11:20 Joel Ngugi

Nairobi - Three men in their late twenties appeared before Kibera Law Courts to answer to charges of being in possession of wildlife trophies contrary to the law.

It was alleged that on February 10, 2014 Gibson Kariuki, James Irungu and Peter Otieno were found with 18 pieces ivory weighing 22 kilograms and valued at KES 2.2 million. The trio was found with the elephant trophies in a Nissan car at Naivas Eastlands in Nairobi County.

They were further accused of conspiracy to commit felony namely monetary gain by dealing with wildlife trophies contrary to the law.  The court heard that on same date while at Naivas Eastlands in Nairobi County at around 11 am, the accused alongside others not before the court tried to sell 18 pieces ivory which weighed 22 kilograms.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and acting principal magistrate Lucas Onyika released them on a bond of KES 800 000 each with surety of similar amount. This was after prosecutor raised no objection to them being bailed.

Meanwhile, the prosecution asked the court to take judicial notice that elephant are endangered species due to rampant acts of poaching. Prosecution informed the court that elephant tusks are highly valued and have a ready market which pays well to those who deliver the trophies hence encouraging killing of elephants in large numbers.

Prosecution was quick to note that it is illegal to trade in elephant tusks in Kenya and in most other countries terming the trade as illegitimate and asked strict bail terms to the accused to act as deterrent to others intending to involve themselves in such activities.

The matter will be heard on April 24, 2014. The accused were taken to remand as they were not able to raise the bond as set by court.

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