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Revealed: US dossier on Kenya drug lords

Sunday November 28 2010

US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger. Photo/FILE
US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger. Photo/FILE
Drugs that were found in a car at Kibiko area in Ngong on June 22, 2010. According to a US report, quantities of heroin and hashish transiting in Kenya, mostly from Southwest Asia bound for Europe and United States have markedly increased in recent years. Photo/FILE
Drugs that were found in a car at Kibiko area in Ngong on June 22, 2010. According to a US report, quantities of heroin and hashish transiting in Kenya, mostly from Southwest Asia bound for Europe and United States have markedly increased in recent years. Photo/FILE
Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara. Photo/FILE
Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara. Photo/FILE
By PATRICK MAYOYO [email protected]

A report prepared by the US Department of State details drug trafficking and money laundering activities in Kenya.

The report could have formed the basis for the banning of five Kenyans from visiting the United States.

The report seen by the Nation says Kenya is not only a significant transit country for cocaine, heroin and hashish, but also a money-laundering hub.

“Quantities of heroin and hashish transiting in Kenya, mostly from Southwest Asia bound for Europe and United States have markedly increased in recent years,” the report adds.

The International Narcotics Strategy Report, that reviewed 2009 drug trafficking and money laundering in Kenya, blames lack of resources and rampant corruption for the two vices.

Kenya’s financial system, the report adds, may be laundering more than Sh80 billion ($100 million) each year, including an undetermined amount of drug money and Somali piracy earnings.

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It indicates that money laundering continues unabated, despite Parliament passing the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Law, 2009, which was signed by President Kibaki on December 31, 2009.

However, the law has not come into force because the Ministry of Finance has not gazetted its commencement date although the Act indicates that such date shall not exceed six months after the date of assent.

The failure by the government to gazette the commencement date of the law comes at a time when there is a tug-of-war over the reopening of Charterhouse Bank, which was closed by the government following allegations of money-laundering.

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger has opposed reopening of the bank, saying that more than Sh60 billion was lost through financial malpractices.

On Wednesday, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara tabled documents in Parliament, which detailed how a police officer who had uncovered the activities of drug cartels at the Coast was sacked from the force.

The report accused former anti-corruption boss Aaron Ringera, former Police boss Major-General (Rtd) Hussein Ali and the director of Police Training College Peter Kavila of frustrating investigations into the matter. Both have denied the accusations, with Mr Ringera threatening to sue the newspapers for defamation.

Parliament has put the Executive under pressure accusing it of not taking the war on narcotics seriously. MPs are now demanding that names of the senior government officers banned from travelling to the US be made public.

Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh told Parliament on Thursday that he could not reveal the names because he was yet to receive the information from the US embassy.

On Sunday, the envoy declined to comment on the matter. He said he would give an official statement on the matter this week.

Independent sources told the Nation that those affected are three MPs — one each from Coast, Central and Eastern provinces.

A Mombasa businessman with connections in high places has also been named together with a senior civil servant.

Anti-narcotics officials who spoke to the Nation on condition that they are not named said the businessman is on a list of international traffickers and has been spending millions daily in casinos in Mombasa and Nairobi.

He claimed the man “gambles between Sh10 million and Sh30 million in a night in different casinos” in Mombasa and Nairobi.