#116. CF 1411/16 Kibera
2016-03-22 CF 1411/16 Seizure of 112 kg of ivory from Nairobi area home

#116. CF 1411/16 Kibera

Ivory Cartel Links to Man Charged with 112 kg of Elephant Tusks

SEEJ-AFRICA THUMBNAIL:

  • 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.
FILE CF 1411/16 Kibera
SEIZURE DATE March 22nd, 2016
CONTRABAND SEIZED AND CIRCUMSTANCES 40 tusks weighing 112 kg found in a Nairobi area home
LOCATION Githurai Kimbo, Nairobi County
POINT OF ORIGIN Unknown
ACCUSED Thomas Muhoro Ngatia
CHARGED At Githurai Kimbo, Nairobi County, ………and in contravention of Sec 95, was found in possession of 40 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 112 kg with a street value of Ksh. 11,200,000 without a permit; Count 2 - Dealing in Wildlife Trophies and in contravention of Sec 84(1) arw Sec 92
COURT Kibera
VALUE (CHARGE SHEET) Ksh 11,200,000
OTHER CONTRABAND Not Applicable
TRANSPORT Not Applicable
ARRESTING AGENCY NPS - Special Crimes Prevention Unit
INTEL_PERSONS OF INTEREST Muhuru Ngatia was linked to wildlife crime cartel boss, Fredrick James Muchina, exposed in a 2014 KTN documentary "Poachers and Butchers". The documentary also showed a link between Muchina and Guinean, Traore Lancini, (West African Cartel) who was arrested in Nairobi with 55 kg ivory in 2013 and later 'deported'.

COURT PROGRESS:

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.

The tusks were brought into court in a large sisal bag but not examined by magistrate. Also testimony by Cpl Simon Acheza of SCPU, testified in kiswahili.  He confirmed that the ivory was going to be delivered to South B.
 
Accused required an interpreter for english.  It was done by the court clerk. Note: accused’s cautioned statement was in english.  Hearing adjourned until August 15th, 2019.
 
Note: The trial court did not allow bail. The accused appealed and was given a bail release.
1411_Chg sht p1

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.

Slain Ruiru tycoon linked to poaching cartel as claims emerge that he was the kingpin

by the Standard Team
January 10th, 2016: Thursday’s fatal shooting of a businessman in Ruiru town has sparked speculations that he could have been executed due to his involvement in illegal ivory trade.
 
Sources say Fredrick James Muchina was a leading player in the illegal ivory trade, noting that he has on several occasions been on the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) watch list.
 
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.
 
Although sources at Ruiru and Nairobi, where he operated various businesses claimed he could have been killed due to business rivalry, especially land dealings, villagers at his Kirinyaga turf said he was a well-known ivory dealer.
 
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.
 
He reportedly fled from the country and left his car at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and exiled himself to South Africa.
 
Police case
 
But after the matter cooled down, he silently sneaked back into the country and resumed attending to his chain of lucrative business until his tragic end on Thursday, just a stone throw away from his Ruiru town residence.
 
When contacted, a senior KWS official told The Standard on Sunday that the deceased was under watch by the institution over his involvement.
 
“He is the man. He has been running away but we suspect his gangs were still working,” said the senior officer.
 
The KWS official however said the killing was purely a police case.
 
“We do not know his killers and the reason behind his execution and we are confident that police are probing the matter,” he said.
 
As The Standard on Sunday moved to investigate the underhand dealings of the deceased, we came across a man — who sought to remain anonymous — and who claimed Muchina approached him in Nyeri town in 2010.
 
“He was told that I am an experienced driver and he personally approached me to recruit me. He told me he will be paying me Sh500,000 to transport tusks and rhino horns to Mombasa. Those recruited to kill rhinos and horns were to get Sh100,000 for every assignment,” he said.
 
Our source said he was told the assignment was dangerous and henceforth declined the offer.
 
“He recruited 10 other youth in the area, but more than half of them have been shot dead and others executed due to their involvement in poaching and ivory trade,” he said.
 
Bullet wounds
 
He said among those killed are two men whose bodies were found a few months ago near Ndaragwa in the Aberdares Forest.
 
He said despite facing hard lives before their recruitment into poaching, the recruits’ financial fortunes changed immediately.
 
“They now own plots, parcels of land and big and expensive houses and some of them own vehicles. This made us believe that there is good money in poaching, despite the dangers it exposes one to,” he said.
 
Last year, our sister TV station KTN highlighted Muchina’s dealings in a documentary titled ‘Poachers and Butchers’, where he was said to be the king of the cartels.
 
In the documentary, Muchina was quoted as a wealthy and well connected gang leader who operates the black trade within the entire country and East Africa.
 
He also reportedly enjoyed 24-hour protection, with one of his bodyguards being a marksman.
 
He is said to have assistants in all regions where elephants and rhinos are reared.
 
On January last year, Muchina is alleged to have telephoned a police officer, George Nderitu who was by then attached to the Central Bank of Kenya, Nyeri branch. The following day, his bullet riddled body, alongside that of William Gichuhi Kariuki was found at Solio ranch in Laikipia County.
 
Although KWS and authorities claimed they were shot dead while poaching wildlife, pathologists and human rights organisations termed the two killings as execution.
 
The murder raised questions, with his family and former Government Pathologist Dr Moses Njue poking holes into police and KWS claims that the two were poachers.
 
Instead, Njue, who conducted the post mortem on Nderitu’s body, said the bullet wounds indicated he was shot from a close range, and some bullet wounds on his palms exhibited that he might have been trying to defend himself from his attackers.
 
Njue and Nderitu’s father Mr Naftaly Nderitu said there were also remnants of gun powder on the body, and indication they were shot from a close range, “and at a stationary target”.
 
Suspect caller
 
Nderitu’s wife, Lucy Wangui told journalists soon after her husband’s mutilated body was discovered, that she had just delivered their first born and her husband sought a day off to attend to her.
 
“It was on Saturday, January 18, 2014 between 11.30 am and 12 noon and Nderitu received a call on his mobile phone while we were both in the bedroom.
 
He picked the call and I heard him say, “Uga Muchina” (Muchina, tell me) but I did not concentrate much on their conversation. He further asked to be given 30 minutes before he comes to Whispers Park in Nyeri town,” said Wangui.
 
The call was somehow brief and Wangui did not concentrate much on the conversation.
 
She said the husband then went to the bathroom and when he was done, received another call which she suspected was from the same person (Muchina).
 
He lied to the caller, saying he was on his way to Nyeri town.
 
“I heard him appear to repeat what the caller had said, ‘Kwa hivyo tukutane Whispers?” (So we meet at Whispers?” she said.
 
Nderitu did not return home. Two days later, he was discovered dead. The wife identified the body which was lying at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital mortuary.
 
The news of Muchina’s shooting on Thursday evening sent shivers and shock waves in his home village, in Kerugoya, Sagana and Makutano where he operated filling stations.
 
Visited China
 
Muchina who was in his early 50’s, was shot six times inside his Toyota Kruger at about 5.30pm while on his way to his residence, according to a relative.
 
He operated three petrol stations within Kirinyaga County.
 
A close family member said he received the sad news while he was in Mombasa.
 
“…upon receiving the chilling news, I felt so low and remained awake the whole night trying to figure out what might have caused the death of my uncle,” said the relative.
 
Sources at his Gitumbi village, which is a few kilometres from Kerugoya town said Muchina frequented China, which is a known destination of game trophies.
 
Police are investigating the incident.
 

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