When ivories worth Sh1.4 billion were ‘stolen’ from government

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Tonnes of ivories burnt in Kenya in 2016. [Photo: courtesy]

On December 29, 1974 police raided a warehouse in Industrial Area, Nairobi and 800 tusks worth Sh1.4 billion ready for shipment were seized but the illegal trophies were purportedly stolen from the government.

The consignment was stored in government stores but days later it disappeared and only ivories worth Sh5.5 million were left behind. Senior state officials were involved in the subsequent heist on behalf of some high-profile persons. No arrests were made.

That time elephant and rhinos poaching was happening unabated that even government officials were involved in it at Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Tsavo National Park, South Horr Valley, Meru National Game Reserve, and Mt Kulal.

Ivories and other trophies seized from poachers and traffickers kept under tight security. [Photo: courtesy]
After the ivories went missing conservationist demanded resignation of then Minister for Tourism and Wildlife Mathews Joseph Ogutu but their calls fell on deaf ears.

only ivories worth Sh5.5 million were left behind and no action was taken

Months earlier an American, two Kenyans and two Ugandans had been arrested in possession of 63 elephant tusks but were released “On instructions from the Attorney General’s Office.”

By 1979 about 47 high ranking officials out of 77 wardens in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department were under police investigation. There were many other instances poachers and traffickers were arrested with huge quantities of ivory parts, appeared in court and were let go after intervention from senior government officials.

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