#40: May 16, 2015 – 4.6 tonnes of Ivory From Mombasa Seized in a Shipment of Tea (The Sheikh’s #2)

#40: May 16, 2015 – 4.6 tonnes of Ivory From Mombasa Seized in a Shipment of Tea (The Sheikh’s #2)

No Charges Laid Despite Identical Logistics for Thailand 3.8 tonne Seizure Three Weeks Previous

L to R: Abdurahman Mahmoud Sheikh, his half brother, father, and 3 other accused in Mombasa court for April 25th, 2015 Thailand seizure

SNAPSHOT:

  • On May 16th, 2015, Singapore authorities seized a container declared as tea leaves but found to contain 1783 pieces of ivory, 5 rhino horn and 23 lion’s teeth total weight coming in at approximately 4600 kg.  (Reported in media as 3364 kg)
  • This was preceded 3 weeks previous by a ivory seizure made in Bangkok, 3127 kg of ivory also in a container of tea leaves from Mombasa.
  • Subsequent investigation led to charges against nine individuals for the Thailand seizure only:
    1. Abdurahman Mahmoud Sheikh aka Said Juma Said
    2. Sheikh Mahmoud Abdurahman 
    3. Mahmoud Abdurahman Sheikh
    4. Lucy Muthoni Kahoto (KRA)
    5. Musa Jacob Lithare
    6. Samuel Mbote Mundia (associate of Jefwa’s, taxi driver)
    7. Salim Mohamed Juma Khamisi (driver for A#1)
    8. Abbasi Issa Rashid (driver for Sheikh’s)
    9. Kenneth Mwangi Njunga (Njuguna) (lorry driver)
  • Warrants were issued for two brothers who were alleged to be the prime logisticians:
    1. Nicholas Mweri Jefwa
    2. Samuel Bakari Jefwa
  • The Jefwa brothers have been on the Interpol Red Notice list since October 2016 and not yet apprehended.  There are reports from several unrelated sources that they are being protected from a high level politician.
  • The trial relating to the first Thailand seizure has been plagued with delays, typical of major Kenyan wildlife prosecutions and is now in its 6th year.
  • Proceedings indicate that since June 23rd, 2015, this case has had at least 48 sittings, not including those relating to asset forfeiture.  Most adjournments were at the request of the prosecution. The court sat 29 times before the 1st witness testified, 2 years and 2 months from the first arrests.
  • Thailand alleged that much of the ivory had been previously seized (which Kenya refuted) and Kenya attempted to have the ivory repatriated as evidence.
  • A separate undercover investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency discovered that the Singapore shipment was on its way to Shuidong, China, and one of its owners, has been subsequently charged and convicted to 10 years jail.
FILE_PROSECUTION
Lin Chong Ng, MD of FAF-Flying Transportation believed charged in VNM
SEIZURE DATE
May 16, 2015  Tuesday
LOCATION
Singapore
LISTED DESTINATION
Vietnam
SEIZED WEIGHT
4.6t (initially reported as 3364 kg and 3.7t)
SEIZED DESCRIPTION
1783 pieces in sisal bags found in this seizure matched those used in Apr 25 seizure
OTHER CONTRABAND
4 Rhino horn, 23 teeth
POINT OF ORIGIN
Not Confirmed
POINT OF ORIGIN DNA
Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya (see below)
TRANSIT POINTS
Singapore
VALUE
KSH570 million ($5.5 million)
COVER LOAD
Tea Leaves
DECLARED AS
Tea Leaves
EXPORTER CONSIGNOR
Almasi Chai
Potential Quality Supplies
IMPORTER CONSIGNEE
Phuong San Trading Import Export Services
FAF-Flying Transportation 
CLEARING AGENT FREIGHT FORWARDER
Siginon Freight Services Limited
SHIPPING AGENT
 
SHIPPING LINE_SHIPS
Cape Madrid
CONTAINERS/MODE OF TRANSPORT
FCIU 5085401  20′
TEMU 3975227  20’, both dispatched from Cargo Containers Ltd.
 
ASSOCIATED VEHICLES
KNY 944 delivered first container
KSM 783 delivered second container
Origins of ivory as per DNA analysis of Center of Conservation Biology, Samuel K. Wasser et al

POLICE HUNT FOR TANZANIAN, KENYAN BROTHERS LINKED TO SH570 MILLION IVORY HAUL

May 25, 2015
Daily Nation

Detectives hunting for officials of Potential Quality Services transport company linked to the contraband seized in Singapore.

In Summary

Investigations show that he, a senior Kenya Revenue Authority staff and a government official were behind the haul.

Also being sought are two brothers, Mr Samuel Jefwa and Mr Nicholas Jefwa, who are officials of Potential Quality Services.

KRA has also written to both Interpol, Singapore and Thailand to assist its investigations into the case.

Detectives have for the second time interrogated staff at Siginon Freight in Shimanzi, Mombasa, where it was established that the initial cargo, blended tea, was parked into 220 bags on April 19.

Police are hunting for a Tanzanian who had rented a house in Nyali, Mombasa, in connection with the Sh570 million ivory haul seized in Singapore last week.

Investigations show that he, a senior Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) staff and a government official were behind the contraband.

Also being sought are two brothers, Mr Samuel Jefwa and Mr Nicholas Jefwa, who are officials of Potential Quality Services, the company that exported the container in which the contraband was shipped.

The two have been exporting 40-foot containers disguised as tea consignments since last year.

PRIME SUSPECTS

“The two prime suspects are still at large. However, efforts to locate them have been intensified through the inter-forum agencies dealing with this matter, including the National Police Service,” said Ms Maureen Njongo, the KRA spokesperson.

The Tanzanian has rented the house since 2013.

However, a rental agent associated with the house told detectives that the tenant had not provided any identification documents.

He would pay his rent in cash and was never issued with any receipts, he said.

BROTHERS ON THE RUN

A senior police officer involved in the investigations on Monday said the two brothers are suspected to have fled to unknown destinations through Uganda.

“Their mobile phones were active and were last used at the Busia border. We, however, do not rule out the possibility that they could be in the country,” he said.

KRA has also written to both Interpol, Singapore and Thailand to assist its investigations into the case.

Detectives have, for the second time, interrogated staff at Siginon Freight in Shimanzi, Mombasa, where it was established that the initial cargo, blended tea, was parked into 220 bags on April 19.

The two containers then left Siginon on April 19 and 20 and arrived at the port for loading onto the vessels Cape Moss and Cape Madrid, respectively. 

RHINO HORNS

On April 27 and May 19, the illegal consignments of ivory and rhino horns were seized in Thailand and Singapore, respectively. 

Potential Quality Services made arrangements for transporting the containers and it has been established that Mr Nicholas Jefwa gave Siginon the blending instructions from the shipper, Almasi Chai (Kenya).

However, the documents releasing the containers were signed by his brother, Samuel.

The two lorries used to ferry the cargo, registration numbers KNY 944 and KSM 783, were also impounded in Mikindani and later moved to the customs warehouse.

“The owner of the two trucks has also recorded a second statement further to the one earlier statement made at Port Police,” Ms Njongo said.

 

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