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US: We’re set to further probe drug traffickers

BUSIA
By | February 4th 2011

By Athman Amran

America would readily help in further investigation and extradition to the US of five suspected drug lords, visiting top US officials have said.

US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said his Government would do what is required of it in such an eventuality.

He was speaking at the Integrity Centre after he and Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson paid a courtesy call on Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Director PLO Lumumba, Thursday.

"We are determined to work with partners in the world to fight drug trafficking," Mr Steinberg said, adding that narcotics were destroying livelihoods of thousands of local youth. He charged that the trade in illegal drugs in Kenya was related to impunity.

At the same time, Dr Lumumba confirmed he received the interim report on the investigation on the alleged drug traffickers from Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere, yesterday.

Dossier on drugs

Media reports had earlier indicated police gathered inadequate evidence against the five suspects who include four MPs — Gidion Mbuvi (Makadara), William Kabogo (Juja), Hassan Joho (Kisauni) and Harun Mwau (Kilome), and a Mombasa-based businessman, Ali Punjani.

Sources said the US officials were at the KACC headquarters to get an update on Kenya’s war on corruption.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti had named the five in Parliament last December as among individuals under police investigation for alleged involvement in drug trafficking at the instigation of the US Government.

The US embassy had in November handed a dossier on drug abuse and trafficking to KACC, which Lumumba forwarded to Mr Iteere for investigation.

How it began

Yesterday, Lumumba said they would later employ services of organisations with expertise in probing drug trafficking if it deems it necessary.

US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger had presented the dossier to KACC after pressure from leaders and the public to name alleged drug barons the US had barred from visiting the country.

And even as police said there was not enough evidence to link the suspects to the illegal trade, Ranneberger maintained the US has credible information against them.

Prof Saitoti named the suspects after Mr Mbuvi demanded, in Parliament, to know why police were ‘harassing’ him at his Buru Buru home and office at Continental House.

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