On Thursday next week (August 19), Japhet Bakari, who is facing wildlife trafficking charges, will know his fate.

In March this year, the 27-year-old shocked a Mombasa court when he lied that his father had died, and requested to be allowed to leave remand prison to attend his burial.

Bakari, a remandee at the Shimo La Tewa Prison, said his parent died on March 15, 2021 after a short illness, and wanted to attend his send-off.

Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti asked the investigating officer to visit the home of Bakari’s parents in Maganyakulo Village, Matuga Sub-County in Kwale County to verify his claims.

On March 19, the investigating officer submitted his findings in court: Bakari’s father was alive, contrary to his son’s allegations.

The investigating officer even recorded a conversation with Bakari’s father, and played it in court to prove that the suspect’s parent was still alive.

The suspect has been in detention since 2019 after failing to raise a Sh10 million bond.

On Wednesday, August 12, Bakari was, again, accused of lying to the court.

Bakari told the court that a wall in Shimo La Tewa Prison had collapsed, and consequently made it impossible for him to reach the paralegal office to make his final submissions ahead of the August 19 judgement.

The prison’s lead officer, however, refuted Bakari’s claims, providing proof that the said-wall was intact.

“You keep telling lies to the court, Mr. Bakari,” Magistrate Nyaloti told the suspect when he was arraigned.

“Last time, you lied to us that your father had died, only for him to be found alive. Now, you are claiming the prison wall collapsed and blocked you from accessing the paralegal office. That claim too has been proven to be false.”

Bakari asked the court to grant him two weeks to prepare his final submissions. Magistrate Nyaloti, however, rejected the request, and directed Bakari to file the submissions on Monday, August 16 ahead of the Thursday verdict.

Bakari was charged alongside another suspect, Ibrahim Samson Ali. The two are accused of wildlife trafficking.

Ibrahim Samson Ali (R) and Japhet Bakari will know their fate on August 19, 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

In May 2019, the two were allegedly found in illegal possession of 8.5-kg wildlife trophies valued at Sh850,000.

In his defense, Bakari told the court that he had been framed by his girlfriend’s father, a Mombasa-based tycoon who was opposed to their relationship.

“I suspect my girlfriend’s father framed me because he is against our relationship,” said Bakari.

According to the suspect, he was dating a Fifth-Year Bachelor of Medicine Student at Moi University. At the time, he was a Second-Year Bachelor of Arts student at the same university.

“The girl’s father warned me to leave his daughter, saying my poor background wasn’t compatible with theirs,” he said.

On September 17, 2019 Magistrate Nyaloti asked Bakari to reveal the man’s identity, but the suspect refused, saying he feared he would be targeted by the tycoon.

The court, however, concluded that Bakari was lying.

The court heard that Bakari and his co-accused, Ibrahim Samson Ali, were in May 2019 found in possession of ivory placed in a sack. The two were alighting from a bus at Mwembe Tayari stage, when police, acting on intelligence, cornered them.

Unlike Bakari, Ali managed to raise the Sh10 million bond, and was attending court sessions on hearing dates.

Both suspects denied the charges. A judgement on the duo’s case will be read out on Thursday next week.

By The Standard

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