Chief Magistrate Evans Makori orders the prosecution to close its case
Chief Magistrate Makori seems to have had enough. Almost 20 months after this headline “DPP on the spot over stalled sh576 m ivory case in Mombasa” made the news, CM Makori has ordered the prosecution to close its case.
In his ruling, CM Makori stated that “the spectrum of the case is being lost” and the “only remedy is to bring this to a closure”. He ordered that prosecution is to bring all remaining witnesses to testify for hearing on April 7th and 8th and that their case should be concluded at that time. There are 5 more witnesses scheduled for the prosecution.
This was after an officer of the DCI testified in relation to ivory particles found in what was believed to be a rented property of one of the accused, used as an ivory collection point. The DCI investigator further stated that some evidence, including an electric cutting machine found on the property, could not presently be located due to the officer in charge of those exhibits having passed on.
He was the only witness to testify during the 2 days of scheduled hearings. Tuesday’s session was adjourned at the request of the defence when one of the advocates was reportedly unwell and could not attend.
This may nullify the planned testimony of expert Dr. Ogeto Mwebi from the Nairobi National Museum who was to testify in regards to the what are believed to be ivory particles found in the rented home. He was not available for the second day of this hearing, being required to testify in another court. It is not yet known if he will be available for the next hearing dates.
This case involves a shipment of 3127 kg of ivory found amongst bags of tea leaves that were seized in Thailand in April 2015. It is the allegation before the court that the ivory had been containerized in Mombasa. The police have charged Mombasa businessman, Abdulrahman Mahmoud Sheikh, his brother, father, and 6 others with offences relating to that shipment. This includes dealing in wildlife trophies and engaging in wildlife crime.