Blood ivory kingpin jailed for 20 years


(Posted 22nd July 2016)

20 years in jail and 20 million Kenya Shillings fine, that was the verdict handed down to Feisal Mohammed as his trial came to an end earlier today. The fine translates to around 200.000 US Dollars, the maximum the present law permits.
Once wanted by Interpol with a red notice after fleeing from Kenya was he later apprehended in Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam and extradited to Kenya to stand trial.
The trial proved to be a rocky one as earlier magistrates hearing the case were alleged to have been gotten to by the accused, with one senior magistrate removed from the case, removed from office and indicted.
The verdict brings closure to Kenya’s conservation fraternity which saw Feisal as one of the key orchestrators of the trafficking of blood ivory.
While his five co-accused were acquitted for lack of evidence is it expected that both prosecution as well as defence lawyers for Feisal will appeal the verdict, for the state to seek the conviction of the other accused while Feisal’s lawyers will no doubt seek an acquittal on appeal.
Meanwhile though is the verdict a sound warning for other poachers, ivory traders and financiers, that the full force of the law will be applied on them should they be found guilty in court.
The verdict is also a slap in the face of former Inspector General of Police, the hapless David Kimaiyo, who at one stage kept one of Kenya’s leading conservationists, Dr. Paula Kahumbu, waiting in his office for an entire day and only most reluctantly received a petition to affect the arrest of Feisal. His behaviour at the time suggested to many that he was almost unwilling to intensify the manhunt and have Feisal arrested, leading to a range of allegations and eventually, in part due to his other failures on the job, sacking from Kenya’s top police position.
Kimaiyo only recently was relieved of his next job as Chairman of the Kenya Airport Authority where, true to his nature, he also failed to make an impression, sending him finally into disgraced retirement.
All those who contributed to keeping the case of Feisal in the public spotlight must be congratulated as his conviction is a major win for conservation not just in Kenya but the entire East Africa.