JKIA gets new court to deal with drug trafficking

A section of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. PHOTO: FILE

A court has been set up at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to handle drug trafficking cases.

The court will also deal with cases of wildlife trafficking and immigration offences.

Previously, suspects arrested at the airport were charged in Kibera or Makadara Law Courts, creating a huge backlog, with cases taking several years to resolve.

Every year, hundreds of suspects are nabbed at JKIA — which is considered a regional hub for trans-national crimes and other offences.

Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi said the opening of the court is in line with a strategy to enhance access to services. She said they were working on modalities to have the court at JKIA operate round the clock.

"There was a strong case to set up a court in JKIA and the dream to do so has now materialised. We hope the new court will enhance justice for people who use this busy facility," she said.

Attorney General Githu Muigai called for more decentralisation and decongestion of judicial services. He suggested that more courts be opened in Nairobi and other parts of the country soon.

The AG indicated that Kenya had successfully negotiated prisoner exchanges with several countries, a move that will see Kenyans serving jail terms in foreign lands brought home to finish their terms.

Prof Muigai added that some foreigners in local jails will also be released to their respective countries.

He added that Kenyans who cannot afford legal aid would get lawyers for free, thanks to the Legal Aid Act that was recently passed by Parliament and assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Registrar of Magistrates Court Peter Mulwa said there were more than 300 pending cases involving suspects arrested at JKIA. He said some of the cases would now be transferred to the new court.

One principal magistrate has already been posted at the JKIA court, which is located in a building that has been provided by the Kenya Airports Authority.