2015 Ivory Seizure Set for February 2021 Hearings
Yesterday, in Mombasa Courts, an ivory trafficking case presently in its 6th year was adjourned again.
Abdurahman Mahmoud Sheikh @ Said Juma Said, his half brother, father, a KRA officer and five others are alleged to have been involved in shipping 3127 kg of ivory in a container of tea leaves to Thailand in April 2015. Facts also indicate that they shipped over 4600 kg of ivory to Singapore in May 2015 but those charges were never laid. The nine face charges under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, the Prevention of Organized Crime Act and East African Community Customs Management Act.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions came under fire in 2019 for being the cause of the unnecessary delays in this prosecution. That August, a new prosecutor, Edgar Mulamula, was assigned to that case and on a day slated for hearing, he requested at least a 30 day adjournment so he could be familiarize himself with the prosecution.
This particular prosecution, Court File 1132/2015, was closely linked to two other ongoing 2013 prosecutions. It is not clear why DPP did not assign one of those prosecutors to replace as lead. The accused in the 3 related prosecutions all have Gikandi Ngibuini and Jared Magolo as part of their defence advocate team.
Yesterday, Republic versus Abdurahman Mahmoud Sheikh was marked for hearing but the court of Chief Magistrate Evans Makori was not sitting. By all appearances, the adjournment for hearing to February 16th and 17th was done behind closed doors. All accused were observed present in courtroom #1 that had been taken by CM Edna Nyaloti.
It had been reported that CM Makori, who has been the presiding magistrate for most of this case, was in the process of being promoted to Judge. That has not yet happened, perhaps one of the recommended 40 promotions that that President Kenyatta has been ‘sitting’ on.
This case has been in court over 50 times since 2015 and that is not including appearances over the forfeiture of assets. It took 2 years and 2 months before the first witness testified. It has been handled by three different Magistrates and nine prosecutors in the six years.