‘Bosses’ protecting ivory smugglers, claims officer - Daily Nation

‘Bosses’ protecting ivory smugglers, claims officer

Friday June 6 2014

Mombasa Police Commandant Robert Kitur (right) escorts Abdul Halim Sadik at Makupa Police Station on June 5, 2014. Sadik was one of the two suspects arrested after the discovery of 228 pieces of ivory in a yard in Tudor, Mombasa. PHOTO / KEVIN ODIT.

Mombasa Police Commandant Robert Kitur (right) escorts Abdul Halim Sadik at Makupa Police Station on June 5, 2014. Sadik was one of the two suspects arrested after the discovery of 228 pieces of ivory in a yard in Tudor, Mombasa. PHOTO / KEVIN ODIT.  

By NATION TEAM
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A police officer claimed Friday that one of his seniors was protecting the owner of three tonnes of ivory seized in Mombasa.

The officer was part of the team that seized the ivory in a warehouse belonging to a car dealer.

The officer spoke to Nation reporters but cannot be named for his safety. He claimed the real owners of the ivory were a Mombasa businessman and a politician who unsuccessfully contested the Mvita parliamentary seat in last year’s general elections.

The officer spoke in the wake of intensified investigations by detectives and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials.

COLLEAGUES ASTONISHED

He told the Saturday Nation that he was aware of another ivory haul stored near Coast General Hospital and Nyali suburbs, but the said a senior officer had warned them against a sting operation to find it and make arrests. He said it was possible that the ivory had been moved.

“Kenyans have always blamed us but our bosses are the real enemies. Once we get information they usually ‘eat’ from it,” he said.

The officer said: “Someone involved has revealed to us that a section of Wednesday’s haul was from elephants killed in Tsavo and Boni Forest in Lamu. They are not from the DR Congo.”

The officer said his colleagues were astonished by the wealth amassed by a senior officer who was recently posted to Mombasa.

He maintained that ivory smuggling involved the businessman and a politician. He said the two usually use oil tankers to transport the ivory.

The officer said the haul impounded on Wednesday was meant to be concealed and protected by the police but something went wrong.

“I have crucial evidence and I’m ready to testify in court. I know I can easily be killed but I would prefer to die telling the truth,” he said.

Our source told us that on the night of the operation, there was an attempt to bribe the police, but the car that had possibly brought the money sped off when someone noticed something was amiss. He said the car had no number plates.

KWS Assistant Director Coast Region Conservancy Arthur Tuda told the Saturday Nation that the situation was tricky.

“There are intrigues in this case. I have the same information as you do,” he told our reporters. Mr Tuda said the case had been handed over to police and the KWS.

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said the case was in the hands of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the National Intelligence Service and KWS.

In Mombasa yesterday, the prosecution asked a court to detain the accused Ghalib Sadiq Kara, a car dealer and Abdul Halim Sadik Omar for five days so investigations can be completed.

Senior Prosecution Counsel Peter Kiprop said he also needed more time to prefer the appropriate charges. “The intended charges are serious and in the event that the suspects are released on bond, they are likely to interfere with investigations,” Mr Kiprop said.

He added that weighing, labelling and ascertaining the value of the ivory was not complete.

The prosecution said the suspects were found in possession of ivory that weighed 2,152 kilogrammes.

The investigation officer Corporal Jackson Guyo said more time was required to secure evidence of crucial witnesses.

Lawyers Francis Kadima and Cliff Ombeta representing the suspects opposed the application to have their clients detained.

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