Interpol issues arrest warrants for brothers in ivory trade

Friday October 21 2016

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha switches on the hammer mill by remote control to destroy two tons of ivory confiscated from traffickers. Kenya’s ambassador to Thailand Patrick Wamoto (holding file) was invited to witness the destruction. PHOTO | COURTESY | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha switches on the hammer mill by remote control to destroy two tons of ivory confiscated from traffickers. Kenya’s ambassador to Thailand Patrick Wamoto (holding file) was invited to witness the destruction. PHOTO | COURTESY | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GALGALO BOCHA
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The Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant against two brothers who have been on the run since last year over 511 pieces of ivory estimated to be worth Sh576 million.

The International Police Organization (Interpol) issued the alert on Friday against the two fugitives, Nicholas Mweri Jefwa,40, and his younger brother Samuel Bakari Jefwa ,27, for their alleged involvement in the 3,127 kilogrammes of ivory.

“An international arrest warrant has been issued for both Nicholas Mweri Jefwa, and Samuel Bakari Jefwa wanted by Interpol and the Kenya police for their involvement in possession and dealing in ivory,” reads the statement.

The Interpol added: “Any person with information as to their whereabouts should contact the nearest police station or the directorate of criminal investigation on 0791573080 or email [email protected],”

The two escaped police dragnet last year following the impounding of the ivory in Thailand originating from the Port of Mombasa.

The ivory was found hidden in sacks of tea leaves which were tracked for months passing through ports in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore before being impounded in Thailand.

The Asian county’s authorities also seized another consignment of ivory weighing four tones believed to have been shipped from Mombasa port.

The High court has already frozen the duo’s assets alongside that of their five co-accused persons who had been charged and pleaded not guilty to dealing in ivory without licence from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Other suspects in the case include Mr Abdulrahman Sheikh, Mr Sheikh Abdulrahman, Mr Sheikh Mahmoud Abdulrahman, Mr Musa Jacob Lithare and Mr Samuel Mundia.

They are facing a charge of exporting the ivory to Thailand and Singapore without a licence and dealing with ivory of an endangered species without a license from Kenya Wildlife Service.

In the third count, they were accused of committing the offence on March 15 and May 20 last year within Mombasa County and were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

Last year, the Office of the Attorney General wrote to the Thailand government seeking details of the seized ivory.

And on Friday, sources privy to process indicated that the Thai authority has replied to the government request and even released some information including DNA results done on the seized ivory.

The Asian country is also expected to provide more documentary evidences and expected to reship the seized ivory to be used as exhibits before a Mombasa court.

Last year Kenyan ambassador to Thailand, Patrick Wamoto attended a function where Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Cha-O- Cha witnessed the destruction of stockpile of ivory for which investigations were completed and sentences handed to convicted traffickers.

Mr Wamoto said he was assured that the two tons of ivory required in the prosecution of the Mombasa case was not part of the destroyed stockpile.

“I took advantage of the ceremony to ask both the Prime Minister and Natural Resources and Environment minister for their support of our efforts to saving both the elephants and the rhino,” said Mr Wamoto.

Last year, Interpol helped Kenyan police in the arrest of Mombasa businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali in Tanzania after months of being on the run.

Mr Faisal was in July this sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined Sh20 million after he was found guilty of being in possession of 2,152 kilograms of ivory valued at Sh44 million.