Kenyan police on Sunday established an inter-agency team to probe the smuggling of three tonnes of ivory through the port of Mombasa that was seized in Thailand.
Mombasa County Commander Robert Kitur said the team, consisting of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs and Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), has already commenced investigation.
Kitur told journalists in Mombasa that several security officials, including Customs officials and KPA officers who were on duty when the seized ivory was smuggled out of the country, are lined up for questioning.
The 511 pieces of ivory was found on April 25 in a container disguised as tea leaves transported from Mombasa to Thailand.
“Our officers have already launched investigation and those who might have facilitated the movement of the container from entry to the exit point within the port will be held responsible,” said Kitur.
Kitur said the team will also investigate claims that part of the consignment was court exhibits that were stolen and reshipped to Bangkok.
Thai authorities have been quoted saying part of the tusks were exhibits that were seized in Asian Market and sent back to Africa as part of international investigation.
Kitur said all the recovered ivory is usually handed over to KWS for storage, awaiting hearing and determination of the case before it’s destroyed after the case is concluded.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judi Wakhungu promised that thorough investigation to establish how such massive ivory left the port of Mombasa undetected. Enditem