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“The Circus is Still On” – The Continuing Mombasa Rosewood Saga.

But who is the Centre Ring?

September 19th, 2022: (virtual) This case was back in front of the Environment and Land Court of Mombasa and Justice L.L. Naikuni as a ‘mention’. For all intents and purposes, this was an update for the court as to the progress relating to the court ordered rosewood transhipment from Mombasa to the port of choice of Shihua Industry Alliance.  Shihua Industry Alliance is the consignee who initially smuggled the Malagasy rosewood from Madagascar in 2014.

George Egunza, advocate for Shihua, advised the court that KWS (the appellant) is continuing to stifle the transhipment process, alleging that they (KWS) emailed the MAERSK Shipping Line, warning of embargoes should they ship contraband goods.  Egunza further complained that as per Justice Naikuni’s comments some weeks previous, “there are forces that are trying to frustrate the process” and that “the circus is still on”.

Egunza further stated:

“There is nothing, my Lord, absolutely nothing, that emanates from the Superior court, that is the Court of Appeal, that issues a stay on the transhipment process. What has been stayed, My Lord, and this must come out clearly, what has been stayed, is the issuance of the permit; the transhipment process has not been stayed.”
 
These comments require rebuttal for a court process that has the prime elements of a Shakespearean comedy.  
 
It bears reiterating that the Mombasa Civil court and then an Appeal Court made a flawed decision ruling that the rosewood was illegally seized by KWS.  There have since been notices from both Madagascar and CITES that confirms that the Mombasa courts had erred.
 
While Egunza (Shihua) is correct that the stay by the Appeal Court applies to the issuance of permits and not the transhipment process, what he is not stating clearly, is that from an international perspective, for the rosewood to be transhipped LEGALLY from Mombasa,  the shipment requires KWS issued CITES permits.
 
If it leaves any other way, (and to do so would require falsified customs and shipping documents which has been clearly done in the past), the shipment of 640 tonnes of rosewood in 22 containers is subject to seizure from any other jurisdiction globally, outside of Mombasa.
 
The advocate representing KWS had no knowledge of the contact between his client and MAERSK and the court ordered that Egunza provide copies of the said email.
 
Justice Naikuni concluded with the following directions:
    1. Due to the appeal, the court becomes functus officio, as far as that issue is concerned and will await the ruling on December 16.
    2. In the meantime, the respondent, be at liberty to explore other available means of transhipping the consignment. 
    3. Egunza to furnish all parties with the copies of email from KWS (as alleged) for parties to respond accordingly,
    4. The order of the Appeal Court stay to be placed before the court
    5. This matter will be mentioned again on January 20, 2023, unless otherwise stated

Egunza made it clear to the court, that there would be a further application to the court by his client prior to January 20th.

George Egunza is correct. The “circus is still on”.  But who is in the centre ring?

The full story at:

Rosewood Case Updates

Blundered Verdict by Kenya Court Releases Mega-tonne Rosewood Shipment

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