A court in Shanzu, Mombasa, has jailed businessman Asif Amirali Alibhai Jetha for 60 years after finding him guilty of trafficking 12 Nepalese women.
For trafficking the girls, the accused was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment and earned an extra 20 years for promoting trafficking in persons and an additional 10 years for interfering with travel documents.
The sentences run concurrently.
Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate David Odhiambo also fined the businessman fines ranging from between Sh100,000 and Sh1 million for being in possession of proceeds of crime, engaging in business without a work permit and unlawfully employing foreign nationals.
Jetha, who holds Canadian and UK passports, owns New Rangeela Bar and Restaurant, was charged in 2019 with three counts of trafficking in persons, promoting human trafficking and interfering with travel documents.
The prosecution said he harboured 12 Nepalese nationals for the purpose of exploiting them by deception.
“Facts have remained stubborn, they have aligned themselves with the law and consequently I find that the prosecution has established its case beyond reasonable doubt against the accused,” said Mr Odhiambo.
The magistrate said that the 12 Nepalese girls went through an experience that they may not wish to be part of again in their lives.
“The search for green pastures due to regional economic imbalance has made many people to jump across fences and take flight across oceans just to have a taste of life outside their motherland and comfort zones,” said Mr Odhiambo.
The magistrate said that he was hopeful that the girls will share their experience with others so as not to get into their former shoes.
He said that circumstances and evidence tendered showed that the accused trafficked the girls, recruited, transferred them from the airport and harboured them in his place of residence.
One-month salary in advance
The court noted that the businessman used deception by sending the girls one-month salary in advance to facilitate their travel in advance and took advantage of their financial vulnerability for the purposes of exploitation, and they were kept in a state of slavery.
“The exploitation of the girls was also manifested in the way their movements and communication were controlled,” said Mr Odhiambo in his 67-page judgment.
He added that the circumstances of the case revealed that the accused's travels out of the country were connected to the arrival of the girls into Kenya.
The court further said that it was clear that the accused was the occupier and proprietor of Rangeela Bar and Restaurant from where the girls worked and he did so with the aim of benefiting from it later.
From the premises, Sh69,050 and USD1,382 was recovered in different tins and which were tips given to the girls by customers at the bar.
“The money was thus an economic advantage derived from the promotion of human trafficking by the accused,” said Mr Odhiambo.
The accused trafficked the girls into the country where they worked for him as dancers at Rangeela Bar and Restaurant which was frequented by the ‘rich’ and were each given a target for the money they received.
According to the evidence of one of the girls, she was given a target of Sh300,000 and that her total collection for January 2019 was Sh466,350.
In his mitigation before sentencing, Jetha, through his lawyer, told the court that he was a first time offender and that he was remorseful and rehabilitated.
The accused had initially, during his defence, told the court that he was married with two children and that his wife is a teacher at a school in Nairobi.