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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Coast prosecution begin process to extradite drug barons to U.S.

 

by Chris Mgidu and Joy Nabukewa MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities have begun the process of extraditing four suspected drug traffickers to face charges in U.S. as the east African nation increased its surveillance to curb the vice.

The move follows a directive by a Mombasa court late Thursday which gave the authorities 17 days to process the extradition of Baktash and Ibrahim Abdalla Akasha, Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami and Kulam Hussein who were found in possession of 98 packets of heroine.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate Maxwell Gicheru also ordered that the four suspects, who are also linked to 343 kg heroine worth 14.4 million U.S. dollars that was destroyed in a ship in September, be detained in police custody until Dec. 1 when the case will be mentioned.

Gicheru declined an application by defence lawyer, Gikandi Ngibuini, who sought orders to restrain the government from extraditing the suspects to America illegally.

"I have the powers to issue a warrant of arrest.

"Compelling reasons have been shown by the prosecution for why they should not be released on bond," Gicheru ruled.

He said Kenya has a duty to cooperate with other countries in the fight against international crimes, particularly those touching on drugs.

"The offense is very serious.

"There is no conflict between Kenya and U.S. laws.

"They have not been charged with any offense and it is still provisional warrant of arrest," the magistrate said.

Ngibuini had expressed his dissatisfaction at the one manner in which one of the suspects was moved to Nairobi without the knowledge of the court.

"This situation is too delicate and we want the court to be firm.

"How did the suspect leave a police cell without an order?" Ngibuini decried, noting that the suspects should be accompanied by their lawyers during any interrogation.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti wanted the suspects remanded for 21 days.

However, the court said they should instead be held for 17 days considering they had already been in cells for three days.

The two Akashas were among four men arrested last Sunday night after months of investigations by Kenyan police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

The two other suspects are Indian Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami and Pakistani Kulam Hussein Shabakash.

In the U.S. the four are to face trial on allegations of being part of an international drug trafficking ring.

Gicheru’s order follows an application by the U.S through the Foreign Affairs ministry and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the release of the four to Interpol.

The UN has identified the East African nation as a transport hub for drugs going to Europe from Asia and the Middle East.

Hardly a week passes without an arrest of drug traffickers at the main airport.

Traffickers have increasingly been using roads to reach their intended destinations become of improved surveillance at the airports.

Analysts say drug trafficking is also a threat to political stability in Eastern Africa region because beneficiaries can use the illicit money to influence government decision or support insurgent groups to fight legitimate governments.

The money can also be used for crimes like money laundering that can disrupt national financial system.
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SEE ALSO:

U.S. requesting Kenya to extradite alleged Mombasa drug barons

Mombasa and U.S. security agents arrest 'four top drug suspects'

             

 

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