MOMBASA, KENYA, March 8th, 2023: Two Kenyan ivory traffickers who have been on the Interpol Red Notice list for over seven years are no longer wanted.
Yesterday in a Mombasa court, during the trial of Abdurahman Mahmoud Sheikh and 8 others, testimony from Senior Superintendent James Githinji of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), indicated that the Jefwa’s had recently applied to the Mombasa High Court for anticipatory bail. The High Court ruled that the DCI are to take statements from the brothers and then release them pending a charging decision by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. From what has been seen to date on the Sheikh’s prosecution, the likelihood of the Jefwa’s being convicted is minimal at best.
This case relates to three sea containers of ivory seized in Thailand and Singapore in April and May of 2015. One container of 3127 kg of ivory was seized in Bangkok and almost 4 weeks later, another two containers holding 4600 kg of ivory. The ivory was hidden amongst bags of tea leaves.
Nicholas Mweri Jefwa, 44 years of age, and his brother, Samuel Bakari Jefwa, 30 years, were identified as prime suspects. Investigation revealed that the ivory was ‘covered’ with bags of tea provided by a local tea dealer, Almasi Chai. The shipment was cleared by a nationally known shipping and clearing company, Siginon Freight Services, owned by the family of the late President Daniel Arap Moi.
Nicholas and Samuel Jefwa were known to have fled Kenya prior to the second shipment being seized in Singapore and have been on the run ever since. Meanwhile, alleged co-conspirators, Abdulrahman Mahmoud Sheikh and eight others, were charged with offences relating to the Thailand seizure which have been before the Mombasa court since June 2015. Yesterday, prosecutor Jami Yamina concluded the DPP’s case of this prosecution. Frustrations over mutual legal assistance requests with the Kingdom of Thailand were cited as a significant obstacle to this prosecution.
No other details are known at this time regarding the High Court application of the Jefwa’s. Detectives on hand at yesterday’s trial and involved in this ivory investigation would not comment further.
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