April 8th, 2022: The prosecutions case was concluded today when the last witness testified in an eight year old ivory seizure investigation.
On March 28th, 2014, Singapore authorities verified a sea container cargo that was found to contain 106 pieces of ivory weighing 1004 kg amongst 200 bags of coffee beans. The container originated from Kampala, Uganda, and transited through Mombasa in late January 2014.
It was initially reported that this investigation commenced in late 2015, through a joint task force supported by the NGO ‘Freeland’, in cooperation with the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) based in Nairobi. Investigators were focused on two other seizures that had initiated/transited Pointe Noire, Congo, in 2014 and early 2015. Those investigations yielded intelligence connecting them to this seizure presently before the court.
However, through the testimony of Superintendent James Githinji of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Thursday, it became clear that this shipment had been the object of scrutiny by DCI and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) before the container had been opened in Singapore in March 2014. This information would suggest that at the time, persons within DCI or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) had declined to proceed with the investigation/prosecution until being re-vitalized in 2017.
CM Macharia has given both prosecution and defence until April 22nd, 2022 to provide their submissions as to whether the accused have a case to answer.
In February of this year, Dr. Samuel Wasser et al published a report, “Elephant genotypes reveal the size and connectivity of transnational ivory traffickers”, in which this particular seizure was shown to be connected to many others throughout East and West Africa. Unfortunately, none of that information made it into evidence for this trial.