Criminal investigation officers in Mombasa have mounted a manhunt for a Kenyan woman for colluding with a foreigner to lure girls into prostitution and exploitation.
According to Kisauni District Criminal Investigations officer Mr Shardrack Juma the woman who escaped a police dragnet was working closely with the foreigner in recruiting ladies into prostitution.
“There was a woman with whom this foreigner collaborated with. According to our investigations they started their business in Nairobi then relocated to Mombasa. When the police went to the house after her, she had already escaped but she will be under our custody soon” he said.
He said the woman believed to be from Karatina will also be charged for engaging in the illicit business.
According to an affidavit produced before the court on May 10, Janet Akoth Omollo, Christopher Clement Weissenrieder, Mercy Waithera Karaja, Beatrice Mueni Mwosa, Mary Nyambura Kimani, Magdaline Wairimu Chege, Celestine Nekesa Sitati and Dorcus Melisah Indakwa are suspected to have been involved in the illegal trade.
Others were Lydia Nyaboke Momanyi, Phidelia Mawia Solomon, Ane Wanjiku Gichuki and Cecilia Nzambi Katuku.
Speaking during a briefing at the Police Dog Section area in Kisauni, the investigation officer said the 12 suspects will be charged with various offences related to pornographic practices and exploitation of prostitution contrary to Section (b) of the sexual offences Act.
He said the police have confiscated 15 laptops in the house which were being used for pornographic acts and have been dispatched to Criminal Investigations Department headquarters in Nairobi for further analysis.
“The foreigner used to work with the United Nations and left employment about 3 years ago. According to his passport he came to Kenya on 1st March this year. He was supposed to stay in Kenya for 90 days as he came as a tourist not as a diplomat as it is alleged. We are yet to establish and confirm why he is using the UN diplomatic number yet he left the job” said the officer.
He added that the girls were being paid according to the amount of money received for their penpals from either United Kingdom or European Union countries. However, the biggest beneficiary was the foreigner.
He said the business was a syndicate and he had been doing the same trade in Madagascar, “His business is being conducted all over the continent and it is a syndicate and if we find other places we shall round them up “ he warned.
He said the business entailed taking nude photos through laptops and sending them to other countries.
The 12 were arrested by police in connection with allegations of lewd acts on 12th /5/2013 within Nyali constituency and have been in police custody after a Mombasa court granted the police to detain 11 girls and a foreigner so as to complete investigations on an alleged case of exploitation of prostitution.
The accused attracted attention after they were brought to court on Friday morning and spent the whole day in court before being whisked back to police cells as curious members of the public thronged the courts and stayed on past 6pm despite the fact that it was past working hours, to catch a glimpse of the suspects.
Resident magistrate G.A Kimanga allowed the application by the police and directed the suspects to be presented to court on Tuesday when they are likely to be charged with the offences.
According to an affidavit sworn by superintendent of police Shardrack Juma, the 12 people were arrested on Friday at an apartment in Nyali.
“I pray this honorable court to grant me more time for comprehensive investigations,” said Mr Juma.
The police officer said the respondents are suspected to have been committing the offence between April 1 and May 9 this year.
However their lawyer Lumatete Muchai opposed the application by the investigating officer, saying that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the suspects.
“This is lack of sufficient evidence your honor. Please do not participate in this illegality, they have not done their work that is why they are asking for more time,” he told the court.
Mr Juma explained to the court that they had confiscated some pornography material which the police intend to investigate further.
The magistrate Mr Kimanga directed, “whereas the accused may interfere with comprehensive investigations, I grant the application as requested and direct the suspects be remanded in custody of police for a period of 3 days until Tuesday next week to allow for completion of investigations.”