Case Conclusion: On December 15th, 2022 before Senior Resident Magistrate E. Rianey, the accused was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment on each count, Dealing and Possession of Wildlife Trophies, to run concurrently. An appeal is not expected. Commentary on this sentence can be read here.
Thomas Muhoro Ngatia was found guilty in a Nairobi area court on November 24th, 2022 by Senior Resident Magistrate E. Riany.
While passing judgement, it was indicated that the court found that the accused’s explanation of events surrounding the seizure of 112 kg of ivory in his sister’s home lacking credibility. Ngatia was taken into custody to be sentenced on December 15th.
Ngatia had been linked to two Guineans who had been previously arrested in the Nairobi area with ivory. Traore Lancini was arrested in October 2013 with Kenyan Bernard Musau Mailu, found in possession of 55 kg of ivory. According to official sources, Traore Lancini was deported mid-trial although no official documentation was ever seen to corroborate. Traore’s name also came up in a 2014 KTN news special investigative report entitled “Poachers and Butchers”. Traore was listed as part of a group working with Kenyan, Fredrick James Muchina, who was ambushed in January 2016 and shot six times in the chest. (see below)
Guinean national, N’Faly Doukoure, was another ivory connection to Ngatia. Doukoure had been arrested in April 2014 with Kenyan co-accused Kenneth Maina Kamau. They were found in possession of 784 kg of ivory hidden in a water tanker. Kamau had been previously charged and acquitted in attempting to air freight 1332 kg of ivory and 5 rhino horn out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in 2010 (court case 2305/11). N’Faly Doukoure was, like Traore Lancini, deported mid-trial but this time on a signed order from the Cabinet Secretary of the Interior.
Thomas Muhoro Ngatia was charged for a second time when found with 55 kg of ivory in January 2020. That prosecution is still before the courts.
#130 is a number assigned indicating this seizure has a link(s) to the Kromah cartel and its ivory was not DNA analysed.
- On March 22nd, 2016, the Special Crimes Prevention Unit, acting on a tip, raided a home at 03:00 hrs in the Githurai Kimbo area.
- 40 pieces of ivory were under the bed of the Muhoro Ngatia.
- The house was allegedly being used for temporary storage of ivory awaiting disposal.
- Police believed the accused to be part of an international cartel and linked to Fredrick Muchina (see below), who was gunned down in an ambush the previous January.
- Thomas Muhoro Ngatia was arrested again in January 2020 and is now under a second prosecution, CF 74/2020, found with 55 kg of ivory.
- It is reported that the accused admitted to knowing of the ivory and that the house had been rented by his father (since passed) to Fredrick Muchina.
- The accused Muhoro gave testimony, that police arrived at his home around 4:00 am. He was taken away (to the police station?) and returned at 06:30 to find the ivory laid out in front of the house.
- the house belongs to his sister who lives in the Netherlands.
- Accused states that he does not live there but only goes once a month or so and pays the caretaker at that time.
- He does not believe that the caretaker gave a statement
- Accused stated that he did not know how the ivory got under his bed.
- this is contrary to an admission in his written statement to police in 2016 when he stated that he had been holding the ivory for Fredrick Muchina. (Muchina was killed in an ambush that had the hallmarks of an extrajudicial killing the previous January.)
April 14th, 2019: The accused was not represented and the court decided to go ahead with hearing. Museum expert Ester ? gave evidence (read from report) that she tested all 40 tusks and they were all elephant ivory. They were marked G1 G40. It was stated that the tusks came from 17 elephants. The report was prepared on 9 May 2016.
Fredrick James Muchina:
- On January 7th, 2016, Fredrick Muchina was shot dead at close range by assailants who rode in a private car at Ruiru town as he drove to Nairobi, allegedly from Nyeri.
- He apparently had something to do with the suspension of 32 KWS officers, and about a hundred elephants killed in Tsavo Park, with a major operation at Solio Ranch.
- The KTN documentary Poachers and Butchers indicated that he was the one calling the shots in ivory and horn trafficking in Kenya.
- Fredrick James Muchina was reportedly a leading player in the illegal ivory trade, noting that he had on several occasions been on the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) watch list.
- According to some reports, he was involved in poaching at Solio Ranch in Laikipia, Ol Jogi, and other national and game reserves.
- Two of his accomplices were reportedly arrested last year inside Aberdares National Park, but Muchina managed to escape.