You are currently viewing Conviction – #130. CF 1411/16 Kibera Court – Republic vs. Thomas Muhoro Ngatia 112 kg ivory
2016-03-22 CF 1411/16 Seizure of 112 kg of ivory from Nairobi area home

Conviction – #130. CF 1411/16 Kibera Court – Republic vs. Thomas Muhoro Ngatia 112 kg ivory

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.


December 15th, 2022 (Sentencing): Before SRM E. Rianey, the accused was sentenced to 2 years jail on each count, Dealing and Possession, to run concurrently. The accused was overheard saying: “my brothers had already sorted it out.” This comment could indicate how he received such an insipid sentence. It should also be noted that a pre-sentence report prepared by the probation office on Muhoro was not favourable. 
The advocates for the accused will not be appealing the sentence for obvious reasons. It remains to be seen whether ODPP will appeal. 
The accused will appear in court again on February 1st on a 2020 ivory charge that is still on going. 
December 2nd, 2022 (Sentencing): SRM Rianey was handling matters from 4 courts today so the sentencing was adjourned to December 15th. It was discovered today that defence counsel for Ngatia were unaware that he had another ivory case ongoing in another Kibera courtroom. 
November 24th, 2022 (Judgement): The accused Thomas Muhoro Ngatia was found guilty of dealing and possession of wildlife trophies and remanded into custody pending sentencing.
November 21, 2022 (Judgement): The scheduled sentencing did not happen as Senior Resident Rianey was unwell. Adjourned to November 24th.
November 3rd, 2022 (Defence hearing): Did not attend, no update available at this time, although the case was set over for Judgment.
November 1st, 2022 (Defence Hearing) The court was not sitting – adjourned to November 3rd.
October 18th, 2022 (Defence hearing): The accused was represented by 3 advocates.
  • 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.)


September 28th, 2022 (mention): Set over to October 18th for defence hearing.
September 26th, 2022 (defence hearing): Defense advocate arrived late, accused arrived later (warrant had been issued-but revoked). Adjourned to the 28th for mention.
September 15th, 2022 (hearing): Did not proceed, IO not present.
September 12th, 2022 (hearing): Did not proceed, IO not present.
September 5th, 2022 (hearing): IO was not there so adjourned for hearing to continue next Monday September 12th.
August 31st, 2022 (mention): No magistrate, accused or defence advocate. The matter put over to September 5th. 
August 17th, 2022 (mention): As of today, this is being heard in front of Senior Resident Magistrate Ms. E. Rainy in court 9. She was not sitting on this date so adjourned to August 13st.
June 8th, 2022 (Ruling): No attendance. Later advised that 2 applications had been made by the accused’s advocate; two previous witnesses who testified requested to testify again as the accused now had representation, and to move the case from court 8 where it was thought that there was a bias against the accused.
April 19th, 2022 (ruling) Meant to be a ruling but defence advocate requested another date, unclear why.  Prosecutor was not happy with the adjournment.
March 30th, 2022: 
December 15th, 2021 (hearing): Set for hearing but no Magistrate (on seminar) attended. Next hearing date set by court assistant.  Court is going on Christmas holidays tomorrow. 
November 30th, 2021 (hearing) Set for hearing in front of Principle Magistrate Monicah Maroro Crt 8. Did not attend. Info later that hearing adjourned.
August 15th, 2019: 


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.
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
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
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'.
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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