Five men found in possession of 20 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 72.5 kilogrammes with street value of Sh.72.3 million were arraigned before a Kabarnet court charged with poaching on Friday.
Joseph Kariuki Njoroge, Joseph Riwaren, Kurkamar Lokoriaria, Turu Lokwiakor Katikit and Amos Kamarinyang are alleged to have committed the offence on September 5, 2019 at around 4’00 pm at Alem area in Ripko location, East Pokot Sub County.
The charge sheet stated that on the material day in the same place and time, the accused were jointly found in possession of the elephant tusks without permit or other lawful exception contrary to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013.
When the charges were read to them before the Senior Principal Magistrate (SPM) Paul Biwot, they all pleaded not guilty.
Timothy Kirisa, an officer with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), in an affidavit petitioned the court not to release the suspects on bond, saying they do not have identity cards and they live in unknown places and therefore were a flight risk.
However, the officer said that if they are to be granted bond it should be on strict bond terms and two sureties of similar amount.
After considering the affidavit by KWS and article 49(h) on the rights of an arrested persons, the magistrate denied the suspects the right to bail and bond, restating that they are at a flight risk as they do not possess ID cards and have no fixed abode.
The SPM scheduled the case for hearing on September 20, but it will come up for mention on September 13.
By Mercy Mutwol/Joshua Kibet