Nairobi court fines two ivory smugglers U.S. $375,000
June 29-July 5, 2012
John Mesilya Mule Mweu and Ngusu David James alias
'King David' alias 'Bouncer', were arraigned before a
Magistrate court in Nairobi and denied the charges
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan court on Tuesday fined two smugglers 375,000 U.S. dollars who are involved in the smuggling of 600-kg ivory bound for Nigeria at Kenya’s main airport in Nairobi in June.
The two, John Mesilya Mule Mweu and Ngusu David James alias King David alias Bouncer, were arraigned before a Magistrate court in Nairobi and denied the charges.
However, they are remanded in police after they failed to raise the bond.
They are expected to appear in the same court on Wednesday for a mention of their case.
The magistrate set Sept. 17 as the date of the hearing.
The two were arrested in connection with 345 pieces of ivory weighing 601 kg intercepted at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, by KWS Canine Unit, police and customs officials while being smuggled to Lagos, Nigeria on June 22.
The ivory which was packed in six crates and sprayed with pepper to prevent dogs from sniffing it had been further covered with aluminum foil.
KWS authorities have been investigating the incident to determine the origin and owners of the illegal raw ivory cargo, which was to be flown on Ethiopian Airlines.
KWS said on June 22 that the round-the-clock surveillance has been enhanced at all Kenya’s entry exit and entry points while sniffer dogs and their handlers have proved incorruptible and have once again outsmarted the smugglers.
Meanwhile, KWS Corporate Affairs Manager Paula Udoto said two more suspects were arrested on Tuesday over the same ivory and will be arraigned in court on Wednesday.
"Investigations into the contraband are continuing while the noose is tightening on two other suspected kingpins behind the illegal trade in ivory," Udoto said in the statement.
The east African nation is among countries in Africa where poaching is rampant despite the vice has been outlawed in the country in 1977.
Poachers target especially rhinos and elephants for their tusks and skins, which fetch a lot of money in the black market particularly in Asia.
The number of elephants has reduced from a high of 160,000 in 1970s to below 30,000 currently.
KWS said between the 1970s and 1980s Kenya lost over 80 percent of her elephants, mainly due to intensive poaching for ivory.
Also affected are the black rhinos whose number declined from 20,000 in 1970 to 577 in 2011.