Smuggling ring hid Sh576 million of ivory in tea cargo, court told

A smuggling ring is said to have concealed Sh576 million worth of ivory in tea cargo.

Abdulrahman Mahmoud and his sons Sheikh and Abdulrahman are accused of exporting 511 pieces of ivory weighting 3,127 kilogrammes in 2015.

The are charged alongside Lucy Muthoni, Musa Lithare Samuel Mundia, Salim Mohamed, Abbasi Rashid and Kenneth Njuguna.

They allegedly transported the ivory from Kenya to Thailand between March and April 2015.

Also mentioned in the case are Nicholas and Samwel Jefwa, who have arrest warrants against them from Interpol for wildlife crimes.

Fredrick Njoka, a witness, told the Mombasa court that Nicholas contacted their company Almasi Chai Limited to buy tea on their behalf.

He said he met Nicholas at Bidan Hotel where they came to an agreement on how he was to buy the tea at the auction on his behalf.

“We did not have a written agreement; we had a gentleman’s agreeement,” Njoka said on Monday.

He said Nicholas had claimed that a company from Dubai was in need of $12,000 (approx. Sh1.2 million) worth of tea.

“This was to amount to 220 bags of tea weighing at 50 kilogrammes each,” Njoka added.

He said he does not know whether or not the cargo left the port of Mombasa after he handed it over to Signal Freights for clearance and transportation.

Hearings will continue on Tuesday.

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