Kenya Wildlife Service is gratified with today’s landmark ruling in which ivory smuggling kingpin Feisal Ali Mohammed was sentenced to 20 years in imprisonment and Ksh20 million fine after he was found guilty of illegally possessing and dealing in ivory.
Four co-accused suspects and Fuji Motor company were acquitted in the case held in Mombasa.
The magistrate ruled that the ivory be forfeited to Kenya Wildlife Service within 14 days.
The landmark ruling, in which Feisal was found guilty of illegal possession and dealing in ivory, is a clear testament of Kenya’s commitment to playing its rightful role in dealing firmly with all forms of transnational organized wildlife crime.
The stringent penalty for such crime is part of Kenya’s heightened legislative action to combat poaching and trafficking in wildlife trophies.
The two-year-old case, which is Kenya’s largest ivory trafficking case, is a result of well-coordinated partnership bringing together various government agencies and international partners, including the INTERPOL and Lusaka Agreement Task Force.
We have scaled up our collective law enforcement efforts to ensure that wildlife crimes are treated as serious crimes, with front line law enforcement better coordinated than ever before.
The guilty verdict is a strong message to all networks of poaching gangs, ivory smugglers, financiers, middlemen and shippers that Kenya will not watch as its elephant population is decimated or its territory used as a conduit for traffickers.
The ruling comes barely two months to the 17th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of the Parties (CoP) in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 24 September to 5 October 2016 to tackle the world's biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.
At this conference, Kenya and 28 other African elephant range states countries, under the African Elephant Coalition framework, will make a strong case for highest protection of the African elephant.
The five-part package of proposals seeks the listing all elephants in CITES Appendix I, the closure of domestic ivory markets, the destruction of ivory stockpiles, ending the Decision-Making Mechanism for legalizing trade in ivory, and limiting the export of wild, live African elephants to conservation projects in their natural habitat.