Man linked to ivory nabbed at Mombasa port charged in court

Man linked to ivory nabbed at Mombasa port charged in court

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Kenya Wildlife officials inspects ivory seized at the port of Mombasa on December 20, 2016. PHOTO:FILE

Mombasa,KENYA:A man has been charged in a Mombasa court following the seizure of 1.97 tonnes of ivory valued at Sh197 million at the Port of Mombasa on Tuesday.

Epantus Gitonga Mbare, is linked to 335 pieces of elephant tusks found stuffed inside wooden planks.

He has also been charged with another count of operating as a trophy dealer without a license issued by Kenya Wildlife service.

The suspect is alleged to have smuggled 1097.75 kilograms of ivory worth shs 109,775,000 between October and December from Malaba boarder and Mombasa port for exportation to Cambodia.

He denied the charges before Mombasa principal magistrate Francis Kyiambia.

Alaxendar Muteti, senior assistant Director of public prosecution, opposed the release of the accused person on bond saying he will interfere with investigations.

Muteti told court that the tourism sector in the country has been affected by continuous poaching of elephants.

Mbera was also charged with dealing in wildlife trophies without a permit issued under the wildlife service.

The prosecution wanted the accused be detained for 30 days citing that investigation involved three countries which were not easy to complete.

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His lawyer urged court to release his client on bail saying it was his constitutional rights and that the accused person was not flight risk.

Court will on Wednesday rule whether the accused will be granted bail or detained.

The accused lawyer said his client was working as a clearing agent and was not aware of what was inside the containers and blamed port officials for not doing their duties since they had scanners.

Faisal Mohamed was jailed for 20 years and a fine of 20 million shillings by a Mombasa court  this year for ivory smuggling.