Until their arrest and extradition to the United States to face drug trafficking charges, the Akasha brothers Baktash and Ibrahim were virtually untouchable, thanks to their powerful connections cutting across the country’s political, judicial and security apparatus.
So connected were the Akashas and their two foreign accomplices, Vijaygiri Goswami and Gulam Hussein that even at the height of their protracted legal battle to block their extradition to the US, they easily went about their drug trafficking business, expanding their criminal empire beyond the importation and exportation of hashish to other high value narcotics like heroin, cocaine and mandrax.
In their payroll were judges, magistrates and court prosecutors whose main task was to help them delay or altogether defeat the course of justice.
They had over the years also established a powerful network of top security officers and senior politicians both in government and the opposition whom they financed in exchange for protection.
The illicit activities of the Akasha empire were unearthed over several months of investigations by agents of the Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA), a US anti-drug trafficking agency who the Akashas were made to believe were representatives of a South American drug trafficking cartel.
During negotiations with the undercover agents, Baktash, Ibrahim and Goswami agreed to procure and distribute hundreds of kilograms of heroin from suppliers in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region and to produce and distribute hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine (a synthetic drug with more rapid and lasting effects), which they understood would ultimately be imported into the United States.
Hussein on the other hand would transport heroin from the Akasha Organization’s supplier in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region to East Africa so that it could be delivered to the US market.
Unwittingly or driven by sheer greed, Baktash in April 2014 introduced one of the undercover agents via Skype to one of his heroin suppliers in Pakistan who claimed he could provide 420 kilogrammes of 100 percent pure heroin – which he called “diamond” quality – for distribution in the US.
In another meeting in Mombasa in September 2014, Baktash reportedly introduced Hussein as a narcotics transporter from Afghanistan who moves ton of quantities of narcotics using ships.
A month later, Ibrahim personally delivered one-kilogram samples of methamphetamine and heroin to the undercover agents in Nairobi on behalf of the Akasha Organisation. Thereafter, during a telephone call in October 2014 between Baktash, Goswami and one of the agents, Goswami reported that 98 “chickens” had arrived, referring to 98 kilograms of heroin.
Then, in early November, Ibrahim, again, personally delivered 98 kilograms of heroin to the undercover agents in Nairobi on behalf of the Akasha Organisation. A few days later, he also delivered another kilogramme of methamphetamine.
Highly credible sources familiar with the Akasha clan paint a picture of extremely dangerous criminals who would stop at nothing to carry out their illicit business.
In meetings with the DEA undercover agents, Baktash would openly brag of having moved more than 300 tonnes of narcotics with his late father Ibrahim Akasha who was gunned down in the Red Light district of Amsterdam, Netherlands in a gangland style drive-by shooting.
Following the elder Akasha’s execution, Baktash – the eldest son – took over the leadership of the empire with his younger brother Ibrahim providing logistical support.
Baktash would later boast that he personally tracked down and murdered the drug trafficker who was responsible for his father’s murder.
Upon the death of the elder Akasha, the family was rocked with disputes believed to have centred around the control of his narcotics empire, leading to the striking similar drive-by execution of one of the Akasha siblings, Kamaldin, at his petrol station in Makupa, Mombasa.
Baktash and his other brother Tinta were later arrested and charged with his murder but were released for lack of evidence.
An incident in August 2015 will help bring out the impunity with which the Akasha brothers went about their businesses in Mombasa.
On that occasion, the two Akashas and Goswami literally forced a mining business associate into a meeting and forced him to agree to whatever business terms they would suggest. Come December 16 that year, the businessman was picked at gunpoint by Ibrahim and forced to withdraw Sh1.1 million from his bank account, which was taken away by the Akashas.
In another incident sometime in April last year, Ibrahim was lured into an operation conducted by FBI and DEA agents on suspected Al-Shabaab activities in Mombasa by a suspect who introduced him as a member of the Akasha clan which controlled the heroin trade in the country.