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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on May 31, 2000 at 20:07:46:
DAILY NATION (Nairobi, Kenya) 30 May 00 Suspected reptiles exporter arrested
A suspect in an illegal export syndicate has been arrested.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) personnel arrested the American national suspected to be involved in the unauthorised export of reptiles.
KWS regional assistant director Benjamin Kavu said the suspect was arrested on Tuesday in Diani, Kwale District.
Mr Kavu added that the suspect (name withheld) was found in possession of a packed consignment ready for export.
"The consignment consisted of 544 live frogs of different species, 20 snakes and 20 lizards," Mr Kavu revealed.
He explained that of the 20 snake species, six were specifically found in the Mt Kenya region.
The KWS boss said the organisation has been investigating the matter for one-and-a-half-years following disclosures from two suspects arrested and charged in court. Mr Kavu said the American national, now in custody, had revealed that the consignment was destined for North America and that he had a permit to export reptiles.
"Exportation of reptiles is illegal and only the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service can issue a permit to an exporter," Mr Kavu said, adding that the permit produced by the suspect had a Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Marketing letterhead. The ministry has no powers to issue such a document.
"We suspect that Customs officials either didn't check the goods or the government officer who issued the permit was bribed," Mr Kavu said.