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How two Mombasa brothers plotted to export ivory disguised as tea

By Willis Oketch | July 18th 2017


Two brothers wanted over alleged exportation of ivory worth Sh576 million to Thailand asked a local company to help them export tea to Dubai.

Almawi Chai Company manager Frankline Njoka yesterday said Nicholas Jefwa two years ago asked his company to buy the product at the Mombasa Tea Auction on his behalf.

Nicholas and his brother and Samuel Jefwa, believed to be hiding in Sudan, have been linked to ivory seized in Thailand in 2015.

The ivory, destined for Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia, is said to have been exported through the port of Mombasa and had been disguised as tea.

At least 10 people have already been charged with trafficking in ivory and freed on bond.

However, Nicholas and Samuel escaped a police dragnet and an international arrest warrant has been issued against them.

Mr Njoka yesterday told the court Nicholas asked him to purchase tea worth Sh12 million on his behalf for export to Dubai, where a buyer was reportedly waiting.

"I can remember sometime in March 2015 when I met one Nicholas Jefwa at Jundan Hotel. He told me he wanted to buy tea to export to Dubai. He also told me he wanted a 20-foot container to export the tea," Njoka told Mombasa Chief Magistrate Evans Makori.

He said he made arrangements with auctioneers who sold tea to his company, which was later exported to Kashav Traders in Dubai.

Njoka said they agreed to execute the plan on condition he would pay the money. He said he paid the tea brokers after their deliveries to his firm. "Jefwa paid me Sh12 million in cash after which I paid the brokers who had supplied to us the tea on Jefwa's behalf," he said

He was testifying in a case in which a man and his two sons, among others, have been charged with exporting 3,127kg of ivory worth Sh576 million to Thailand. The ivory was found hidden in sacks of tea leaves in Thailand. 

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