Sh44m ivory ‘was from 160 elephants’

Wednesday August 19 2015

A man counts ivory pieces at the KWS offices in Mombasa on August 17, 2015 before proceedings began in a case against businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali and five others.

A man counts ivory pieces at the KWS offices in Mombasa on August 17, 2015 before proceedings began in a case against businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali and five others. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GALGALO BOCHA
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The 314 pieces of ivory, allegedly found in possession of Mombasa businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali, were extracted from 160 elephants, a court heard on Wednesday.

The trophies, weighing 2,152 kilograms and valued at Sh44 million, were harvested from elephants of different age brackets, according to Dr Ogeto Mwebi, an animal heritage scientist.

Dr Mwebi is a senior research scientist and head of osteology at the National Museums of Kenya.

“In the forensic analysis I conducted, I (found) all of them to be elephant ivory of different ages. I estimated they belonged to 160 elephants. I put them as juvenile, mature or adults,” said Dr Mwebi.

He, however, explained that his analysis did not focus on establishing which country was home to the elephants.

He was testifying in the ongoing trial of Mr Ali and four other people for alleged possession of the ivory and dealing with the tusks without a licence.

The other suspects are Mr Abdul Halim Sadiq, Ghalib Sadiq Kara, Praverz Noor Mohamed and Mr Abdulmajeed Ibrahim.

They have all denied committing the offence on June 5 last year at the business premises of Fuji Motors East Africa Limited, on Tom Mboya Avenue, Tudor Estate, in Mombasa.

TRACKED DOWN

Later, a former Interpol detective told the court how Mr Ali was tracked down and arrested in Tanzania.

Chief Inspector Japheth Gegonge testified that on December 21 last year, his superiors in Nairobi directed him to lead three officers to Dar es Salaam to help Tanzanian police track down the businessman, who had been sighted there.

The court heard that the Director of Criminal Investigations in Nairobi had earlier received a report of Mr Ali having been spotted in Tanzania and requested Interpol-Nairobi to verify that information.

The head of Interpol's Nairobi bureau contacted his Tanzania counterpart and confirmed the report.

“I left with three officers on 22 and arrived at about 2 pm. We joined our colleagues in Tanzania and managed to track down the culprit at a local hotel that night at around 10pm.

“We stopped him and introduced ourselves,” Mr Gegonge said. The hearing continues.