A police officer on Tuesday narrated to a hushed Kabarnet Court how she posed as a serious buyer in order to trap five suspected poachers carrying elephant tusks with a market street value of Sh 72.3 million in Tiaty Constituency.
Gladys Tanui told Resident Magistrate, Nerolyne Idagwa, that she led a contingent of officers to lay ambush on the five suspects in possession of tusks weighing 72.5 kilograms at Chemolingot Trading Centre, following a tip-off from members of the public.
The informer said, Ms. Tanui told the Court, there were five suspicious characters planning to sell 22 pieces of illegal ivory packed in two sacks ready for sale at the Trading Centre.
Ms. Tanui narrated to the Magistrate, that upon receiving the vital piece of information, she immediately organized a team of officers with the help of Officer Commanding Station (OCS), Nginyang Police Station, and posed as serious buyers of the valuable commodity.
“I immediately convened a team with the help of OCS of Nginyang Police Station and I posed as a serious buyer in order to trap them,” she explained.
The Investigating Officer stated that they laid an ambush at the end of a tarmac road at Chemolingot Sub-county Headquarters where the suspects were to pass as they headed to a place within the town to meet their potential buyer who was to ferry the consignment to Nairobi.
“I stopped them with my team and when they noticed that we had seen the tusks protruding from the sacks, they voluntarily stopped and we asked them if they were aware that they were carrying elephant tusks, they said yes,” said Tanui, while being cross-examined by Prosecution Counsel, Lydia Kitilit.
She was testifying in a case where Joseph Njoroge, Joseph Riwaren, Kurkamar Lokoriara, Turu Lokwiar, and Amos Kamarinyang, were charged that on September 5, 2019, at around 4 pm at Alem area in Ripkwo Location of Tiaty West Sub-county, they were found transporting 22 pieces of Ivory, a hacksaw and a weighing scale, using two motorbikes without a permit or other lawful expectation, which is contrary to Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013.
The Officer informed the Magistrate that they weighed the tusks in the presence of the suspects using their own weighing scale since they had confessed to having committed a crime of transporting prohibited wildlife trophies.
After weighing the tusks, Tanui told the Court, they moved the suspects with their consignment to Kabarnet Police Station where they were put in custody, awaiting to be arraigned in court as Timothy Kirisa, an officer with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) remained behind to record witness statements.
Further hearing of the case has been slated for tomorrow, July 15 when two more officers are set to testify.