BY SAM ALFAN.
The Court of Appeal has upheld a four year sentence slapped on Abdulkadir Anod Dole who was found guilty of illegal possession of wildlife trophies worth Sh1.9 million.
Appellate judges William Ouko, Asike Mukhandia and Wanjiru Karanja dismissed Dole’s appeal, which challenged the conviction and sentence after he was found guilty of possessing two rhinoceros horns and one piece of elephant ivory weighing 2.5 kgs.
The bench, however, quashed the charge of being in possession of implements of forgery namely, five colour printer cartridges and one paper cutter without lawful authority contrary to section 367(b) of the Penal Code.
“In the end, we find no merit in this appeal, save for the appeal challenging the conviction and sentence in count 4, which we allow, set aside the sentence and quash the conviction”, the judges ruled.
While dismissing the appeal, the judges said they did not find anything to suggest that the discretion in imposing the sentences was improperly exercised.
The bench added that the courts have legitimate jurisdiction to exercise discretion and on appeal and the appellate court will not easily interfere with a sentence unless it is shown that it is manifestly excessive.
Dole filed the appeal seeking to quash the decision by Nanyuki Magistrate and later the High Court decision upholding the sentence.
Director of Public Prosecution through Principal Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu urged the court to reject the appeal arguing that the prosecution proved the charges beyond any reasonable doubt.
Ondimu added that the accused was found in possession of trophies and fake foreign currencies and the case was proved through the evidence that demonstrated beyond doubt that the house in which the trophies and the fake Ethiopian currencies were found belonged to Dole.
He said a search was conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the law and that the principles of sentencing were adhered to.
The trial court had convicted him on four counts and sentenced him to serve four years imprisonment.
He was charged with the offence of being in possession of government trophy, namely two rhinoceros horns and one piece of elephant ivory weighing 2.5 kilogram all with a street value of Kshs.1,985,900.
He and his co-accused were also charged that they were in possession of forged 2,260 pieces of 100 denomination Ethiopian Birr notes and 1,560 pieces of 50 denomination Ethiopian Birr notes contrary to section 367(e) of the Penal code among others.
During the appeal in the high Court, the judge found that it was a common factor that on July 9, 2011 at Olpajeta, a carcass of a rhino was found with its two horns missing, that with information from an informer a motor vehicle registration No. KAT 263 Z (RAV4) suspected to be transporting rhino horns was tracked to Nanyuki-Nairobi road that on the same day at a police road block on Thika Road that apart from fresh blood stains at the back of the driver’s seat, there was nothing to link the only occupant, the driver, who was the 7th accused person, with the killing of the rhino. Subsequently, on July 13, 2011, further information was received from an informer that there were suspicious characters at a house in South C in Nairobi.
Following this information, the police and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) intelligence officials raided the house in South C Estate where they met the 1st and 2nd appellants together with the 3rd to 6th accused persons.
Upon conducting a search, Kshs.1,985,500 in cash was discovered from a cupboard in a room in the house together with two rhino horns.
From the ceiling of an adjacent empty room, which was dusty with cobwebs, a sack containing Ethiopian currencies, a printing machine, incomplete printed paper, some paper printed with Ethiopian currency, some cotton and an elephant tusk were retrieved.
Upon examination by the document examiner the notes were found to be fake and simply pieces of paper while the horns and the tusk were found to be trophies that must have come from a rhino and an elephant.