By Juma Namlola
Eight bangles' beauty turns Sh1 million ugly for the accused.
A United Nations employee was on Tuesday fined Sh1 million by a Nairobi court after she admitted wearing ivory bangles against Kenyan laws.
Lydie Kayetsi was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport wearing the ornaments on her way to Mogadishu where she works with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
She was locked up while her bangles were taken to the National Museums of Kenya for tests to verify if they were made of ivory as Kenya Wildlife Service officers had suspected.
“A research scientist from National Museums of Kenya, Mr Ben Nyakundi, gave his report, which confirmed that indeed the eight bangles were made of ivory,” Prosecutor Daniel King’ori told the court.
SHE WAS NOT AWARE
He submitted the report alongside the bangles as exhibit.
In her mitigation, Kayetsi said she was not aware that it was an offence to wear the bangles in Kenya.
Her lawyer told Senior Principal Magistrate Timothy Okello that she bought the objects of beauty on a streets in Democratic Republic of Congo and was not aware that they were made of ivory.
“Your honour, the accused is remorseful. She is a staff of the United Nations and works with Africa Mission in Somalia (Amisom) based in Mogadishu,” said the lawyer.
In his verdict, the magistrate said ignorance is no defence.
“Having considered that the accused is a first time offender, I am of the opinion that she should benefit from lenient sentence. She is, therefore, fined Sh1 million or a jail term of not less than five years,” he said.
The sentence is in accordance with article 95 of Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013.
The article states: “Any person who keeps or is found in possession of a wildlife trophy or deals in a wildlife trophy, or manufactures any item from a trophy without a permit issued under this Act or exempted in accordance with any other provision of this Act, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than one million shillings or imprisonment for a term of not less than five years or to both such imprisonment and fine.”