Kenya Wildlife Service officers display ivory seized at the Port of Mombasa on October 12, 2013. Police on June 4, 2015 arrested three more suspects linked to Sh570 million ivory that was seized in Singapore in May. FILE PHOTO
Police on Thursday arrested three men said to be the “masterminds” of the recent Sh 1 billion ivory that was smuggled from Mombasa to Asia.
This followed investigations after two consignments of ivory were seized in Thailand and Singapore in April and May, respectively.
At the same time, two other “key suspects” are still on the run, according to a statement by Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet.
Eight other suspects have since been arrested and are being interrogated by detectives after the court gave them until June 22 to complete investigations.
INTERPOL HELP SOUGHT
The statement read by Police Spokesman George Kinoti also revealed that Kenya had asked Interpol to help in arresting more suspects in Singapore, Thailand and Tanzania.
“A formal charge has already been entered with the Chief Magistrate in Mombasa charging Said Juma Said (one of the masterminds), Nicholas Mweri Jefwa and Samuel Jefwa (who are on the run) and Patience Kahindi (who is being held at Shimo la Tewa prison),” he said.
The police plan to charge the suspects with illegal possession and dealing in wildlife trophies, and engaging in organised crime.
The offences carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and fines of Sh5 million.
Sheikh Mahmoud Abdulrahman and Mahmoud Sheikh Abdulrahman are named in the statement as the other masterminds.
“The National Police Service in collaboration with other members of the multi-agency team will continue to vigorously pursue the matter until all the culprits are brought to book. In this respect, we have expanded our investigations through Interpol to cover Singapore, Thailand and Tanzania to tighten our case against the culprits,” the IG said.
The investigation was conducted by a joint team of detectives drawn from Kenya Police Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Environmental Crime Desk at the regional Interpol bureau.
Over 45 statements were recorded and vehicles belonging to suspects seized.
Besides the consignment seized in Thailand, another valued at Sh570 million had been intercepted in Singapore three weeks earlier.