By Musembi Nzengu
A 55-year-old Kitui businessman found guilty of illegally possessing 11 tusks from six slain elephants was yesterday sentenced to one year imprisonment and fined Sh130,000.
Harrison Mulang'a was convicted by Mutomo residents magistrate Sadra Ogoti who said the prosecution had proved its case against the accused beyond doubt.
The magistrate said that in his defence, Mulang'a was unable to prove his claim that he had been framed by a person with whom he had a land dispute.
She said the prosecution had proved that the accused had broken the law by unlawfully being in possession of the tusks. She said Mulang'a did not have a permit nor a dealer’s licence to be in possess of the tusks.
Although the lawyer to the accused Joseph Muinde pleaded for a non-custodial sentence for his client saying he was a father of six children who solely depended on him for survival.
However, Ogoti said the three offences against the accused were serious and she would give him a stiff sentence to serve as a deterrent to other offenders. She ordered the 11 tusks valued at more than Sh1 million, forfeited to KWS.
On a request from Muinde who expressed the wish to appeal against the sentence meted on his client, the magistrate ordered that he be furnished with certified copies of the judgment upon paying the requisite fee.
In December last year Kenya Wildlife Service personnel arrested the convict when they smashed an ivory trade syndicate and seized 64 kilogrammes of tusks. The arrest was made at Mutha market in the outskirts of Kitui South National game reserve. weighing 64 kilogrammes