A Mombasa court has granted the Anti-Narcotic Police Unit a day to hold a 29-year-old woman arrested after cocaine worth Sh100 million was allegedly found in her house.
Shanzu Chief Magistrate Florence Macharia on Monday declined to allow the police to detain Ms Nuru Murshid Mahfudh for three days, noting that a day was enough to finalise their investigations.
"The police should ensure that the suspect and her unborn child are safe," said the magistrate.
The suspect will be detained at Port police station in Mombasa.
In an affidavit filed in court, investigator George Odhiambo said the drugs found in the suspect’s house had neither been weighed nor sampled.
"Sampling and analysis can only be done by a government-appointed analyst in Ms Mahfudh's presence. Because of the time and place the suspect was arrested, the services of a government-appointed analyst could not be immediately available," said Mr Odhiambo.
Relying on the document, Prosecutor Anthony Musyoka told the court the detectives were yet to forward the woman's mobile phones to the cybercrime laboratory for further investigation.
The prosecutor also told the court that the investigators were still pursuing various leads that could lead to the identification of potential witnesses.
"This emphasizes the need for the suspect to continue to be detained to prevent chances of interfering with witnesses and concealing evidence," he said.
Mr Musyoka said that due to the quantity and value of the drugs, the scales and other equipment available, it was clear that the woman was either a distributor or working with other drug traffickers.
"Her release, pending an investigation, not only endangers her life but could also be a threat to the prospective witness," he said.
Court documents show that nine packets of the drugs were found hidden in a television carton while six packages were found wrapped in paper hidden in a box.
Digital weight scales among other items were found in the suspect’s kitchen. In one of the bedrooms, police found two Kenyan passports bearing the names of Ms Mahfudh and Farid Shaban Athman. Two iPhones were also found in the room. Police believe the phones contain essential information that will help detectives identify the suspect's network and accomplices.
“It is important to note that drug menace is rampant at the Coast. It is necessary for a proper finding to be made on this matter,” said the prosecutor.
However, through her lawyer Eugene Wangila, the suspect denied the request for further detention, saying there was no evidence to convince the court to have her detained further.
"Ms Mahfudh is two months pregnant. Police can continue with the investigation even if she is out on bail,” said Mr Wangila.
The lawyer said that his client was under no obligation to assist the police with investigations and that she must not be present when the drugs are being weighed.
He said that the police want the suspect to be detained for more days for them to have adequate time to compel her into divulging incriminating evidence.
Mr Wangila claimed that the arrest and arraignment of the suspect was politically instigated.
“We will provide documentary evidence to prove that this case is politically instigated,” he said.
The advocate further told the court that the entire process of investigation was illegal and that the suspect’s relatives had been intimidated.
“The prosecution can press charges against Ms Mahfudh and later prepare whatever they want to sanitise the illegally obtained evidence,” said Mr Wangila.
However, in a quick rejoinder, Mr Musyoka noted that the allegations of pregnancy were far-fetched. He said the suspect should table documentary evidence showing that she is pregnant.
“There is nothing political about this case, they are mere speculations. Furthermore, the suspect is not a politician. A criminal offence is personal. The far-fetched allegations of politics will not be useful to this case,” he said
The case will be mentioned on May 25.