Likoni ‘pythonman’ slapped with two-year jail term

Benedict Fondo the suspect who was found with the 2.3 metre Python PHOTO COURTESY

A  man who was earlier in the week was nabbed trying to sneak a python into the Likoni ferry is set to serve a two-year jail term if he is unable to raise 1 million shillings.

This is after he pleaded guilty to the offense of possession of a wildlife trophy without a permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

33-year-old Benedict Fondo who had identified himself as Karisa Iha to police officers at the Ferry police station appeared before Mombasa resident magistrate Vincent Adet on Wednesday but was sentenced on Friday after it emerged that his official name is not Karisa Iha.

However, Fondo had told the court that he works for the Kenya Wildlife Service and he had forgotten his permit at home.

However, the magistrate ruled that he ought to have known that a permit is required in order to be allowed to possess the reptile.

“That he has worked for the Kenya Wildlife Service he ought to have known that a permit is required in such circumstances” Magistrate Adet ruled.

The magistrate also ordered the reptile to be surrendered to the Kenya Wildlife Service for conservation.

Fondo was carrying the python in a suitcase when he was intercepted by security officers manning the scanning systems at the ferry entrance on Tuesday.

“The suspect was passing the island screening area through the x-ray when he was intercepted,” Police said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 2.3-meter long python had been wrapped with a bedsheet before being packed into the suitcase.

The python which weighs 10 kilograms was still alive by the time it was recovered.

Authorities have been trying to contain the illegal possession of wildlife trophies in the coast region.

Snake species such as the African black python are regularly sold in the black market for their skin and meat.

In 2017, KWS effected a ban on exportation of various species snakes into different countries.

The snakes that were being exported to zoos and pet shops in the UK, Czech Republic, Germany, the US, Mexico, Brazil, and China respectively would fetch between sh 10,000 and sh 20,000.