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Sh115m tusks seized in Malaysia

· KRA had issued an international alert for the ivory that was smuggled from Mombasa port

Elephant tusks worth millions of shillings smuggled from Kenya were on Tuesday seized in Malaysia.

This came a week after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) issued an international notice for the consignment, shipped from the port of Mombasa, to be impounded. KRA detectives missed the consignment on December 3 when they rushed to the port from Nairobi hoping to seize it but found the ship had set sail.

KRA deputy commissioner Kennedy Onyonyi said the Royal Malaysia Customs confirmed the container had been impounded at Port Klang harbour.
“We received a report that it had been intercepted. It was destined for Cambodia. We are waiting for them to inform us on the quantity and mode of concealment,” he said.
South Africa’s Mail and Guardian Online reported the container carried “hundreds of African elephant tusks worth about $1.3 million (Sh115 million).”

It added that the shipment, weighing almost two tonnes, was headed for Cambodia’s beach resort area of Sihanoukville.

No suspects had been arrested, it said.

Mr Onyonyi said the KRA had alerted ports around the world to seize the container and inspect it because an agent who facilitated the shipment was being investigated for illegal ivory exports. Though KRA detectives failed to seize the consignment at Mombasa, they found another container with 465 tusks valued at over Sh400 million. Both containers had been handled by Calbens Conveyors Limited.

Two weeks before, KRA officials had seized yet another container being handled by the agent at the Inland Container Depot at Embakasi in Nairobi.
It had 87 tusks which were disguised as handicrafts. This discovery led detectives to Mombasa to investigate all containers that had been handled by the agent.

The investigation sparked a war of words between the KRA and KWS, with the former insisting the cargo seized in Malaysia was on the high seas while the latter claimed it had not left Mombasa.

The cargo seized in Kenya was handed over to KWS for safekeeping and for further investigations to establish its source.

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