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Report: Graft in Judiciary hampers war on narcotics

The Judiciary is frustrating the fight against drugs and narcotics, oblivious of the negative social and economic impact they have on the society, a report claims.

This came as it emerged that two suspected drug barons deported from Kenya to the Seychelles recently had been on the Interpol’s ‘Wanted’ list for close to two years and are alleged to have been involved in the trafficking of heroin worth close to Sh1 billion into their country in 2015.

A report detailing the state of drug trafficking in Kenya pointed a finger at money being traded for case dismissal or fair judgment within the corridors of justice. It accused the Judiciary of dragging cases related to drugs and dismissing others on flimsy grounds.

“In order to effectively fight the drug menace in the country, there is a need for the concerned government institutions to effectively play their role,” the report stated.

The confidential report cited several instances where cases had been dismissed and the suspects freed.

It cited “judiciary corruption” in a case in which a suspect was charged three times but eventually set free.
Ms Scholastica Namuyu Imbiti aka Scola was allegedly found with 23 kg, 3.1 kg and 654 grams of heroin in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively. She was on the three instances acquitted by a judge who also dismissed a case in which she was accused of card fraud.

The same judge, the report states, acquitted another suspect, Ms Jane Wambui, after she was arrested with 3kg of heroin on October 16, 2009 in Nairobi’s upmarket Muthaiga suburb.

DISAPPEARED FROM COURT

A crucial witness in Ms Wambui’s case, her landlord, disappeared from court just as it was about to be heard on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 before testifying. The case was adjourned several times until it was dismissed as the witnesses, who included mainly police officers, never showed up in court.

Ms Elizabeth Njoki Wanjiru and Administration Police officer Geoffrey Martin Paul were arrested with 5.209 kg of heroin worth tens of millions of shillings on September 1 last year but the court was “too lenient” on them.

“The heroin seized is worth ten million shillings. Hence, a bond of Sh1 million is peanuts to the syndicate,” the report argued.

Ms Joyce Akinyi, who dominated headlines after her scuffle with Nigerian Anthony Chinedu, was also cited in the report as one of those who benefitted from the gaps in the Judiciary.

“Ms Akinyi has been paying registry staff to hide their file so as to delay the commencement of the case,” the report said of the case in which Ms Akinyi and her co-accused, Ms Risper Auma and Mr Alex Otieno, are accused of being in possession of 2 kg of heroin on March 25, 2015.

Other cases cited by the report include that involving Ms Ruth Lulu, Ms Michelle Mutune Mutheu, Ms Janet Mumbi, Ms Diana Wairimu, Mr Peter Mwangi and Ms Beryl Akoth.

CRACK DOWN ON DRUGS

Also mentioned is Mr Zahid Iqbal Alarakyia and Mr Rehan Kantilal Shah, who were arrested on April 5 last year in Mukabi Estate, Loresho, a posh Nairobi suburb. The duo led police to a house in Jana Estate, in Nairobi’s Eastlands, where 10 guns and more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition were found.

Cases against Ms Evelyn Neema, who was on October 19, 2012 charged with trafficking in Sh84 million narcotics, and Ms Rehema Messa Osoma were also mentioned as some of those that had been delayed by the courts.

On the first day of this month, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed security forces to crack down on drugs, saying the business was getting out of hand.

He spoke days after the extradition of the two sons of slain Mombasa businessman Ibrahim Akasha’s sons Baktash Akasha and Ibrahim Akasha to the United States, where they are wanted for drug trafficking.
Police in Mombasa have since arrested several suspects, seized drugs and even deported a number of suspects to their respective countries.

Sources at the National Police Service stated that officers from the Anti-Narcotics Unit, including its commander Khamisi Masa, had been deployed to Mombasa. Mr Masa said he was at the Coast indefinitely.

On Monday, police said they had arrested five more suspected drug barons, among them a female law student, with 17 kg of heroin worth Sh170 million and Sh18 million in cash.

A Mombasa court ordered five people detained for five days as police investigate drug allegations against them. Shanzu Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache issued the orders against Mr Swaleh Yusuf, Ms Asma Abdalla, Mr Rashid Athman, Mr Athman Salim and Ms Farida Omar following an application by the prosecution.

Prosecution said police found drugs in Mr Mohamed Nabil and Mr Athman’s residence.

— Additional reporting by Philip Muyanga

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