Chinese man in ivory case caught ‘fleeing’ Kenya

February 5, 2014 1:59 pm
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Zhang Chunsheng who had been released after paying a Sh1 million fine after pleading guilty to the charge, was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport/FILE
Zhang Chunsheng who had been released after paying a Sh1 million fine after pleading guilty to the charge, was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – A Chinese national who was last week charged with trafficking ivory from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Guangzhou was on Wednesday arrested while trying to flee Kenya.

Zhang Chunsheng who had been released after paying a Sh1 million fine after pleading guilty to the charge, was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko had appealed the sentence handed to the Chinese man, seeking a stiffer penalty under the new Wildlife Act, under which another Chinese ivory trafficker was slapped with a Sh20 million fine last week.

Police said they will charge the Chinese man afresh for disobeying a court order barring him from leaving the country, after the initial sentence was suspended.

When the Chinese man appeared in court last week, he pleaded guilty to all charges but was only convicted on one.

High Court Judge Justice Mbogholi Msagha granted interim orders as sought by the DPP and barred the accused from leaving Kenya pending the hearing of the appeal.

He had been charged with possession of a wildlife trophy of an endangered species contrary to section 92 of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013.

He also faced two additional counts of dealing and manufacturing items from Ivory.

The interim stay granted by Justice Msagha suspending the judgment delivered by the lower court, is expected to further entrench the stringent application of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“As the custodian of the State powers of prosecution, my office swiftly moved to appeal the sentence earlier handed down to Zhang Chunsheng in the interest of our national wildlife and environmental conservation efforts,” Tobiko said in his Wednesday statement.

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