Pubdate: Thu, 16 Dec 2004
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Newspapers
Author: Jeff Otieno


Involvement of security officers and politically connected individuals
in trafficking is defeating the war against illicit drugs.

One of the notorious latter day drug traffickers who enjoyed
protection from some police officers is a Camerounian only known as
"Mr President". To this day, the whereabouts of "Mr President" remain

According to some sources, "Mr President" had moved to Dubai, but came
back to Kenya confident that he was safe because of his connections to
powerful politicians.

Police had established that the group recruited young and naive girls
to ferry drugs from Asia to Kenya and then onwards to Europe and the

The cartel is said to be so influential that five of the suspect's
confidants, who had been deported, sneaked back into the country unmolested.

Two other members of the gang were also arrested and arraigned in
court on drug trafficking charges, but each was freed on a Sh1 million
bond with a Kenyan surety in similar amount. They both jumped bail.

Mid this year, a suspected drug trafficker nearly died after a pellet
stuffed with heroin burst in his stomach.

Airline attendants found him unconscious when a Kenya Airways flight
from Dubai landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The incident
occurred before the police arrested two Kenya Airways employees for
allegedly smuggling heroin worth Sh5 million into the country. The
drugs were found in the luggage of an airline supervisor on arrival
from Mumbai, India.

Security officers at the check-in lounge detected the drugs in eight
packages hidden in his luggage. The suspect was locked up.

Last year, Priscilla Jemutai Kongolei, 36, was jailed for 18 years and
fined Sh10 million for smuggling heroine worth Sh27.8 million from
India. Kolongei's was the largest drug haul ever seized at the
airport. The incident led to the sacking of 32 members of staff, 29
cabin crew and three crew scheduling staff.

In Mombasa, police seized a Sh940 million haul of hashish from a house
at Nyali rented by suspected drug baron Ibrahim Akasha in 2000. Senior
police officers had to be dispatched from Nairobi to inspect the cargo
after concerns were raised about the credibility of the officers
handling the matter.

Two years after the incident, one of Akasha's sons, Kamaldin Akasha,
was shot seven times as he sat outside his fuel station at Makupa. He
died instantly.

The death followed that of his father who was gunned down four years
ago in an Amsterdam street by a lone cyclist.

All eight suspects arrested in connection with the killing were later

The other major seizure in Kenya took place in Nairobi's Donholm
estate where six tonnes of hashish worth Sh480 million was discovered.
The drug was neatly packaged in one-kilogram packets. It was manually
air-tightened with polythene paper and cellotapes such that it was not
possible to smell it. Most of the hashish was hidden in the ceiling,
but a few bags were on the floor.

Two years ago, a man arrested with cocaine worth about Sh90 million
died in police custody.

The American died only two hours before he was to appear in court to
answer charges of trafficking in cocaine and having illegal firearms.

In the same year, police arrested six suspects in a crackdown on drug
traffickers and users in Malindi.

Some 230 sachets of heroin and brown sugar were also seized in the
swoop by the local anti-narcotic squad.

Last year, a Ugandan businesswoman died at a Nairobi hospital after a
pellet of heroin burst in her stomach.

There are concerns in Europe and US that Kenya is slowly becoming a
conduit for dangerous drugs.

For example, in 2002, the US State Department mentioned Kenya as one
of the link-countries for drugs destined for Western world.

Some of the drugs it mentioned were high quality cocaine and

It attributed the larger quantity of the two illicit drugs to
increased production capabilities in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
described as major points of origin for drugs transiting Kenya.
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