The High Court has ordered a freeze on assets belonging to seven men accused of exporting ivory to Thailand and Singapore.
Justice Martin Muya told the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to freeze millions of shillings being held in 13 accounts at Standard Chartered, KCB, I &M, Co-operative, Barclays and NIC banks belonging to the seven men.
“The prosecution has raised issues that deserve to be considered,” Justice Muya said.
He also ordered the DCI to seize the men’s eight vehicles.
The court said the vehicles and parcels of land should not be disposed off before the case is determined.
The Director of Public Prosecutions through Prosecution Counsel Yamina Jami said the suspects used proceeds of ivory trade to buy vehicles.
The men are Mr Abdulrahman Sheikh, Mr Sheikh Abdulrahman, Mr Sheikh Mahmoud Abdulrahman, Mr Musa Jacob Lithare, Mr Nicholas Mweri Jefwa, Mr Samwel Bakari Jefwa and Mr Samuel Mundia.
Two firms linked to Mr Abdulrahman Sheikh, — Potential Qualities Supplies and Funzi Island Company — are also listed as respondents.
The seven are accused of dealing in ivory without a licence from the Kenya Wildlife Service.
They are also charged with exporting 3,127 kilogrammes of ivory to Thailand. In the alternative to count two, they are charged with exporting restricted goods.
The prosecution also said they engaged in organised crime. Mr Yamina said the offences were committed on March 15 and May 20 in Mombasa County.
Justice Muya, who reserved reasons for his ruling for today, also ordered Mombasa land registrar to place restrictions on a plot in Makupa belonging to one of the men.
While making his application, Mr Yamina informed the court that the vehicles, land and other property could be forfeited to the state.
“There are several assets held by first, second and third accused. Investigations are ongoing and we have reasons to believe that they are proceeds of money laundering,” he said.
He added that the accused had failed to explain how they acquired the property and money.
“Investigators have every reason to believe that the money and assets are proceeds of crime and tax evasion. The seven suspects cannot also explain the source of the huge amounts in their accounts,” he added.
He also said investigators wanted to establish if the seven men had committed offences under the proceeds of crime.
“The lead investigator wants a confiscation order granted. The reasons being the first and second respondents have been unable to properly account for the source of the money,” he said.