UPDATE June 20th, 2022:
Today in Kwale court #1, the accused, Hasira Makoti Mwanzala, was acquitted of the lone charge of being in possession of a wildlife trophy, to wit, two tusks weighing 16 kg.
Senior Principal Magistrate J. M. Omido, in making his decision, wrote that the involved KWS officers and one DCI officer gave “drastically contradictory evidence” and that in light of inconsistencies, discrepancies and contradictions that remain(ed) unexplained”, the court must resolve in the favour of the accused.
Makoti Mwanzala, a Kwale County revenue officer, had been arrested on the afternoon of December 15th, 2017 by KWS undercover operatives in a sting operation. The same operation had netted another accused, Saidi Kusidi Mwachitema, with 34 kg of ivory, the case status of which is not clear.
Both had been arrested in proximity of the Shimba Hills National Reserve, an area believed to have a diminishing elephant population. According to the recent KWS census, the area has under 100 elephants with anti-poaching activist, Jim Justus Nyamu, stating that it is less than 50.
The fact that an arrest warrant for the DCI Investigating officer had to be issued for him to testify did not bode well for the direction in which this case was heading.
In April 2021, another Kwale County administrator, Josphat Kuri, was arrested with 35 kg of ivory in a prosecution that is still before SPM Oxide’s court.
More to follow.
- December 15th, 2017, a Kwale County Enforcement officer, Hasira Makoti Mwanzala, was arrested in possession of two elephant tusks weighing 16 kg.
- He was arrested in the afternoon in the Tiribe area, south and west of Shimba Hills National Reserve. He is facing charges of possession of wildlife trophies before a Kwale Court.
- On the same day, a Kwale County primary school teacher was arrested while in possession of 34 kg of ivory.
June 29th, 2021: In Kwale Law Courts today, Senior Resident Magistrate Joe Omido, issued a warrant of arrest for the investigating officer in a 3 1/2 year old ivory possession case.
On December 17th, 2017, Hasira Makoti Mwanzala, a Kwale County enforcement officer, was arrested by KWS and NPS officers in the area of Shimba Hills National Reserve. He was found in possession of two tusks weighing 16 kg and charged accordingly.
Today was scheduled to be the closing of the prosecution’s case with testimony of the NPS Police Constable. He was not in attendance having notified the courts that he was on leave.
The DPP’s request for a summons was denied by SRM Omido after a plea from the unrepresented accused to close the case. It was realized that the said Police Constable had missed three previous hearings besides today for: temporary transfer for other duties, attending training, and an unknown reason while off duty. SRM Omido stated: “games are being played here”.
In addition to the arrest warrant being issued, the Kwale magistrate has ordered the proceedings to be typed, with info copies sent to the police county commander for Kwale County as well as the head of KWS in the region.
The case, CF 843/2017, will return to court on July 15th for mention.
Teacher, county officer arrested in Kwale with 50kg ivory
Two men arrested on Friday with ivory worth Sh4 million are government officials, it has emerged.
Said Kuzidi, a school teacher at Mwamasa Primary School, was arrested with 34 kilogrammes of ivory at Mtsangatamu, Matuga subcounty.
Hamisi Makoti, a county enforcement officer, was arrested with 16 kilogrammes of ivory in Tiribe.
KWS deputy warden Nathan Gatundu said the suspects are currently at Kwale police station and will be arraigned on Monday.
“This means two elephants lost their lives. Replacing them will be difficult,” Nathan said.
The KWS official added that the ivory was not fresh saying the suspects had sought a buyer by the time of their arrest.