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DPP wants five acquitted in Sh44 million ivory trafficking trial jailed for life

By Willis Oketch | Published Tue, June 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated June 11th 2018 at 21:44 GMT +3
Feisal Mohamed during his appeal in April this year. He was convicted of smuggling ivory and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2016. He was also ordered to pay a Sh20 million fine. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

In summary

  • Prosecution says magistrate in first trial ignored crucial witness statements
  • Four of the suspects were set free while one was jailed for 20 years and fined Sh20 million

The High Court has ordered four people who were acquitted in an ivory case to be present during the hearing of an appeal against their release.

In the appeal, the Director of Public Prosecutions has accused the magistrate who acquitted the four of being lenient and ignoring overwhelming and incriminating evidence.

Abdul Halim Sadiq, Ghalib Sadi Kara, Praveez Noor Mohamed and Abdulmajeed Ibrahim were yesterday ordered by Justice Dorcas Chepkwony to appear before her tomorrow without fail. They were acquitted in July 2016.

But one of their co-accused, Feisal Ali Mohamed, who was convicted and jailed for 20 years and fined Sh20 million, is also in the prosecutor’s crosshairs.

While Feisal went ahead and appealed against the sentence, claiming that he was jailed without evidence, the State is seeking to upgrade his prison term to life.

Found guilty

Feisal, who was in court yesterday for his appeal, had been found guilty by Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache of illegally dealing in ivory worth Sh44 million, which had resulted in the deaths of 120 elephants.

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“It will be unfair to proceed with this appeal today because the defendants in the matter are not present,” said Justice Chepkwony.

This was after Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alex Muteti had expressed the State’s readiness to proceed with the matter.

Feisal’s lawyer Taib Ali Taib and Jared Magolo also indicated that they were ready for the cross-appeal.

“I want to hear the State’s appeal and give a judgment on the same when I come from leave, which has already begun. I will forfeit one day of my leave on Wednesday to hear the appeal by the DPP,” the judge said.

In her 2016 judgment, the magistrate had found it highly suspicious that Feisal disappeared from Mombasa immediately after the ivory was recovered at Fuji Motors in Mombasa’s Tudor Estate. He was arrested in Tanzania six months later.

The prosecution had argued that since Feisal’s offense had such a serious impact on the public, Principal Magistrate Mochache should have given a more deterrent sentence.

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