Ports, jetties, targeted in renewed war against drugs

All the 627 private jetties, landing sites, and ports at the Coast will be inspected and users vetted afresh in a renewed war against narcotics and illegal trade, State officials have said.

The officials warned that these entry points were increasingly becoming conduits of transnational crime, including human trafficking, and endangering State and regional security.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and head of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said laxity at Kenya's ports of entry, complicit officials, weak laws and controls were exposing Kenya to complex transnational crimes in the course of international trade transactions.

"Kenya's position as East Africa's gateway for trade, particularly import and export, is attracting more agents of transnational crime," said Dr Matiang'i.

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He said through manipulation of technology, some Kenyans were increasingly turning the country's territorial waters into crime theatres.

"The rate of smuggling of contraband... through our territorial waters has been increasing in the recent past," said Matiang'i, who cited dumping of substandard and counterfeit goods as a consequence of this practice.

Matiang'i said the illegal trade was now known to be an avenue for terrorist funding.

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Mr Haji said unregulated trade through ports and other entry points exposed Kenya to a high risk of criminal trade.

Both were addressing delegates from the Judiciary, security, Central Bank and other institutions attending a stakeholders' conference in Mombasa, yesterday. The DPP said malfeasance and complex crimes at the Mombasa port, the key port on the East African Coast, had repercussions across East and Central Africa.

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CoastFred Matiang'iNoordin HajiDrugs