Court orders extradition of Kenyan wanted in US over child porn

Monday September 8 2014

Brian Musomba Maweu, also known as Catfish, in a Nairobi court on June 30, 2014, when the Director of Public Prosecutions began extradition proceedings against him. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Brian Musomba Maweu, also known as Catfish, in a Nairobi court on June 30, 2014, when the Director of Public Prosecutions began extradition proceedings against him. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VINCENT AGOYA
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A Kenyan man wanted in the US in connection with a child-pornography case can now be extradited to face trial, a Nairobi court ruled on Monday.

Mr Brian Musomba Maweu, alias Catfish, will be handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the next 21 days after he chose not to oppose a request the US government placed against him three months ago.

The request was placed through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko. Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Victor Mule on Monday requested that the US foot the cost of the air ticket for the suspect.

He said the suspect, who has been held in remand, had considered the extradition application and had “chosen to waive his right to objection.”

WAIVES RIGHT TO OBJECTION

Senior principal magistrate Enock Cherono issued the extradition order after Mr Maweu said on oath that he was not opposing his extradition as he wants the case dispensed with.

The magistrate allowed Mr Musomba’s last request to be escorted to his house in Mtwapa to collect his personal belongings before being handed over to the foreign authorities.

“The respondent having waived his own right to objection will now be surrendered within 21 days to the US, where he faces charges relating to child pornography ... the US is to meet the cost of extradition ... Meanwhile, he is to be remanded at the Kilimani Police Station,” the magistrate said.

Mr Maweu's extradition proceedings began after the FBI unearthed a membership child-porn web link that he is said to have operated.

INTERNATIONAL WARRANT OF ARREST

An international warrant of arrest had been issued against the suspect and the US Department of Justice, through the US Embassy in Nairobi, requested the government to arrest and hand him over.

Mr Mule said the fugitive had been indicted before the US District Court in Louisiana for the offences of engaging in a “child exploitation enterprise and the distribution of child pornography.”

The Americans also want the seizure of the suspect's property, “including articles and documents that may be found in his possession which may serve as further evidence or as proceeds acquired through the offences” for surrender with the fugitive.

'I WANT CLOSURE'

“The respondent is wanted to stand trial in the US ... he is the subject of a criminal indictment in which he is charged with child pornography-related offences,” Mr Mule said on Monday at the Milimani law courts.

A warrant of arrest issued on March 16, 2011, against Mr Musomba before the US court had been pending till his arrest in Mtwapa three months ago.

“I have been in remand for the past three months and having gone through the application, I choose not to object, I want closure of this thing,” Mr Musomba.

It is alleged that in 2009, an online profiling of child pornography bulletin boards traced a link administration to Mr Musomba.

OBSCENE MATERIAL

“In January 2010 and June 2010 the Homeland Security obtained a search warrant and subsequent seizure of ‘Bulletin Board A’ which indicated it was active with approximately 600 validated members ... a member located in Africa named Catfish had posted messages to the site between June 2009 and June 2010,” the extradition papers the American authorities attached read.

Mr Musomba is accused of knowingly participating in the advertisement and distribution of the obscene material in three separate incidents.

“In order to advertise the child pornography, members would post a description of what they wanted and would be granted a password necessary to download the material,” the court papers say.

He allegedly paid a commercial web-hosting company to host the site using a credit card traced to his accounts.