By Derrick Kiplagat
The two men Tiapukei Kuyoni and Munyao Nzusyo were arrested by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers with six pieces of ivory at Oloika along Mosiro-Ntulele road in Narok County on September 1, 2014. The two men were found in possession of six pieces of ivory weighing 18 kilograms have been charged with three counts of retention, possession and dealing with wildlife trophies. They have been sentenced to life in prison or an option of paying a total of Ksh. 100 million in fines.
They were found guilty of being in possession of the game trophies valued at Ksh. 1.8 million. The two were also found guilty of dealing in wildlife trophies without a license from the Kenya Wildlife Service. Mr. Kuyoni was found guilty of all the three counts and was ordered to pay Ksh. 60 million or serve a life prison sentence by Narok Senior Resident Magistrate Allan Temba. The other suspect, Mr. Nzusyo was found guilty of the second and third count and was ordered to pay a fine of Ksh. 40 million or serve life in prison.
The court in its judgment, stated the strict sentences were in accordance with the 2013 Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, which imposes tough penalties for wildlife-related offenses in order to save wildlife which was once Kenya’s leading revenue earner.
In the evidence presented to the court, KWS rangers posed as buyers and went to Ntulele in Narok County where they lured the two suspects who offered to sell the tusks to them and in the process nabbing them.
The accused have however pleaded for leniency having indicated they are the sole bread winners of their families.
However, the magistrate reminded the court of the need for wildlife protection under the new Wildlife Act and its clarity on the kind of sentences that accompany the offenses. The two have 14 days to appeal.