Jan 15, 2011
General
netfied

An intelligence report has blacklisted 10 companies described as front companies for the illegal trade. For instance, a firm that imports wine was cited as an importer of hard drugs concealed in alcoholic drink containers. The report further revealed how drugs enter Kenya hidden in tyres and other motor vehicle parts or stashed in the soles of shoes and in buttons on clothing.

The recently revamped anti-narcotics police unit has been warned of major challenges in its bid to bust drug cartels.

Senior officers conversant with the reorganisation told the Sunday Nation that among the challenges are targeted executions, huge bribes and dealing with powerful personalities suspected of drug dealing.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has appointed six senior officers to head each of the six main sections of the anti-narcotics team.

Sebastian Ndaru, a seasoned detective, will head the drugs squad at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters.

Sources say the officers have been told their success will be measured by the number of drug seizures.

Past United Nations reports have shown that local drug use tends to increase along international transit routes.

The officers were also told to be prepared to handle powerful personalities, including politicians, business magnates and some of their own senior colleagues, as they include some of the key suspects they will be investigating.

Internal Security minister George Saitoti recently named in Parliament prominent personalities under investigation for drug trafficking including John Harun Mwau, who has since stepped down as Transport assistant minister, and MPs Gidion “Sonko” Mbuvi (Makadara), William Kabogo (Juja), Hassan Joho (Kisauni) and businessman Ali Punjani.

To deal with the challenges, officers in the team have been promised a huge budget to enable them to penetrate the drug rings. They are also set to undergo specialised training to keep abreast of drug lords and their tactics.

An intelligence report has blacklisted 10 companies described as front companies for the illegal trade. For instance, a firm that imports wine was cited as an importer of hard drugs concealed in alcoholic drink containers.

The report further revealed how drugs enter Kenya hidden in tyres and other motor vehicle parts or stashed in the soles of shoes and in buttons on clothing.

Strengthening the anti-narcotics unit has been determined to be one of the most effective ways to deal with drug trafficking. Since 2004 the unit’s operations have been hampered by insufficient budgets.

Former police commissioner Hussein Ali allegedly cut allocations to the special units in the CID and slashed the number of officers in them.

Mr Iteere has appointed Mr Ndaru a senior assistant commissioner of police and Moses Soita Ndidi as his deputy. The unit has detachments at Kenya’s entry points and areas identified as drug transit routes.

Ruth Muinde, who was moved from the Dog Unit, heads the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport office while Festus Malinge covers Coast Province.

Former CID boss in Tigania district Vincent Egesa was named commander of Mombasa’s Kilindini harbour. Eldoret International Airport office is under Margaret Karanja, who was in Nairobi’s CID operations section, and the head of the unit at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport is Daniel Kimulwo.

By  FRED MUKINDA fmukinda@ke.nationmedia.com

Return