BUSIA – A Ugandan primary school teacher, who was arrested last Friday for allegedly smuggling ivory into Kenya, has lost a bid to have his trial held in a Ugandan court.
Mr Joseph Ndeda, who on Monday, January 27, 2020, appeared before a Kenyan Court in Busia presided over by Magistrate Tina Madowo, was instead remanded to Busia-Kenya government prison until February 5.
Ndende lawyer Wycliffe Okutta told journalists that there was no case for his client to answer since there is no proof that he was caught trafficking ivory.
“The prosecution is at liberty to prove to this court that the accused was found in possession of ivory and that the ivory belongs to him, otherwise my client is an innocent man. We are trying to raise questions to the prosecution on whether there are reports of an elephant or elephants that were killed here in Busia-Kenya and if not, they should state the source of the ivory,” Mr Okutta said.
Mr Ndeda, a resident of Busitema Sub-county in Busia district, was on Friday last week arrested by Kenya Police after he was found smuggling 42 kilogrammes of ivory and 35 kilograms of wildlife bones. Mr Ndeda had allegedly crossed into Kenya on a motorcycle after concealing the wildlife products in sacks.
The illegal ivory trade is the third most profitable form of trafficking after narcotics and weapons. Traffic is driven by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks are used in traditional medicine and ornamentation. Poaching has seen the elephant population fell by 110,000 over the past decade to just 415,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.