Laikipia tycoon arrested with Sh11 million worth of ivory
A popular businessman was arrested on Wednesday afternoon 24 May 2023, with 23 pieces of ivory valued at Sh11 million.
The businessman, who operates from Sipili Township, was caught in Laikipia County and taken to Rumuruti Police Station.
Laikipia County Police Commander John Nyoike confirmed the arrest and said the ivory weighed 113.75 kilograms.
He also said that the elephant tusks had been collected from Churo in Baringo County and were being taken to Mahiga in Laikipia County.
“The officers who made the arrest were tipped off by members of the public and it was easier for the officers to nab the suspect,” he said.
Mr Nyoike did not reveal the businessman’s identity but said he was well known and very prominent in the county.
According to the police boss, the incident happened at a time when poaching was not rampant in the country.
He said they would have to work round the clock to investigate and find out what happened and where the tusks came from.
“It is very unfortunate that poachers have killed a total of 12 elephant tusks just to make money. We will investigate and find out where they committed this heinous act,” he said.
He said the suspect had hidden the tusks in bags of maize and was preparing to surreptitiously hand them over to a buyer when the eagle-eyed policemen caught him.
In 2022, former Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala said more was needed to protect the country’s wildlife.
“We have the Wildlife Conservation Act, which was enacted in 2013 and carries a penalty of life imprisonment or a fine of US$200,000 for offenders,” he said.