Probe fails to link Kenyan MPs to drugs

Sunday January 30 2011

Top from left: Mr Harun Mwau, Mr Ali Hassan Joho and Mr Gideon Mbuvi. Bottom from left: Mr William Kabogo, Mr Simon Mbugua and Mr Eugene Wamalwa. Photos/FILE

Top from left: Mr Harun Mwau, Mr Ali Hassan Joho and Mr Gideon Mbuvi. Bottom from left: Mr William Kabogo, Mr Simon Mbugua and Mr Eugene Wamalwa. Photos/FILE 

By DOMINIC WABALA [email protected]

Police have failed to link five people named in Parliament over drug trafficking to the vice.

A preliminary report cites lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute the suspects — four MPs and a businessman.

However, it says drug trafficking is rampant in the country and recommends police be given more time and resources to arrest drug barons.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti named former assistant minister and Kilome MP Harun Mwau, Kisauni MP Hassan Joho, Makadara MP Gidion Mbuvi, Juja MP William Kabogo and prominent businessman Ali Punjani as those under investigation. (Read: Mwau resigns under cloud of drugs charges)

The inquiry was led by deputy officer in charge of police operations Kambona Ombaba, Coast PPO Aggrey Adoli, his CID counterpart, and Mombasa Urban, Kisauni, Kilindini, and Malindi OCPDs.

Malindi, Likoni and Kisauni DCs and a former drug user also participated in the investigation. The team obtained court orders to scrutinise bank accounts and search warrants to some premises.

The revelation is contained in a 300-page report that was handed over to Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere on Friday.

The report says despite “efforts to conduct investigations, it proved elusive to secure substantive evidence with which to implicate, let alone prosecute any of the mentioned suspects”.

“It is not easy to get evidence to incriminate them, let alone that which may withstand the rigorous test in a court of law against the drug dealers,” the preliminary report says.

The detectives say informers were unwilling to record statements. This is because drug barons use their riches to protect themselves and no witness was willing to give evidence against them for fear of being killed, the report says. (Read: How drug dealers evade police and customs dragnet)

Vanga, Shimoni, Mombasa, Kilifi, Malindi and Lamu are noted as major entry points due to convenient sea routes while Kijipwa, Ukunda, Lunga Lunga and Voi airstrips were found to be the favoured routes for drug smuggling because of minimal police presence.

“The aircraft, their passengers and luggage are hardly checked to verify any suspect cargo,” the report says.

The detectives established that drugs mainly enter the country through the Kilindini harbour in containers disguised as rice, sugar, second-hand clothes and used motor vehicles. They are then repackaged and exported as tea or fish.

It was established that privately owned Container Freights Stations were also being conveniently used by drug traffickers to smuggle in and offload narcotics.

The team recommends private asset investigation in some cases.

“Drug dealers are believed to convert their proceeds into other forms of property to conceal the same. Investigation of personal assets of suspected dealers therefore becomes relevant to expose the illicit trade,” the report says.