Two men have been sentenced to life in prison or pay a total of Sh100 million in fines after they were found in possession of ivory valued at Sh1.8 million in Narok County. FILE PHOTO
Two men found in possession of six pieces of ivory weighing 18 kilograms have been sentenced to life in prison or pay a total of Sh100 million in fines.
Tiapukei Kuyoni and Munyao Nzusyo were charged with three counts of retention, possession and dealing with wildlife trophies.
They were found guilty of being in possession of the game trophies valued at Sh1.8 million.
The two were arrested by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers with six pieces of ivory at Oloika along Mosiro-Ntulele road in Narok County on September 1, 2014.
Narok Senior Resident Magistrate Allan Temba also found the two guilty of dealing in wildlife trophies without a license from the KWS.
Mr Kuyoni was found guilty of all the three counts and was ordered to pay Sh60 million or serve a life prison sentence.
Mr Nzusyo was found guilty of the second and third count and was ordered to pay a fine of Sh40 million or serve life in prison.
In the judgment, the court said the strict sentences were in accordance with the 2013 Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, which imposes stiffer penalties for wildlife-related offenses in order to save wildlife.
In the evidence presented to court, KWS rangers, acting on a tip-off from an informer, posed as buyers and went to Ntulele in Narok County where they lured the two suspects.
The two, however, volunteered to sell the tusks to the officers, who arrested them in the process and seized the six pieces of ivory hidden in a gunny bag.
In his judgment, Mr Sitati said prosecutors had proved their cases against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt.
LED POLICE TO SCENE
He noted that the fact the accused led the police to the scene where they found the bag containing the game trophies showed they were accomplices in the crime.
According to court testimony, Mr Temba said the duo led the police to Mr Kuyoni's land, where the accused led officers to a spot where they had hidden the illegal cargo as the sleuths pretended to be buyers.
In mitigation, the accused pleaded for leniency, saying they were the sole breadwinners in their families.
The magistrate noted that wildlife needed to be protected and the new Wildlife Act was very clear on the kind of sentence to be meted out to this kind of offences.
He, however, reminded them of their right of appeal in 14 days.