Court allows police to hold Akasha sons for 17 days pending extradition

Defence lawyer Cliff Ombeta (left) with Mr Baktash Akasha Abdalla (centre) and Mr Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami at the Mombasa Law Courts on November 11, 2014. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |

Two sons of slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha and two other suspects will be held in police custody for 17 more days days to allow prosecutors to complete formal extradition procedures, a court has ruled.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate Maxwell Gicheru, who issued a provisional warrant of arrest against the four suspects, said the application by the State was lawful.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti had made an application to have the suspects remanded in custody for 21 days, but the court noted that the suspects had been in custody for the past three days.

The suspects are Mr Baktash Akasha Abdalla, Vijaygiri Anandgiri, Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla and Gulam Hussein.

The magistrate declined to issue an order against Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku to ensure the four suspects do not leave the country without a court order.

This was after defence lawyers Mr Cliff Ombeta and Mr Gikandi Ngibuini raised concerns that one of the suspects had been taken to Nairobi without the knowledge of the court.

LEAVE POLICE CELLS

“We are staring at a delicate situation which the court has to deal in a firm manner, how did the fourth suspect leave the police cell without a production order?” asked Mr Ngibuini.

Mr Ombeta said for the duration the suspects will stay in police custody, their lawyers should be present during any interrogation.

Mr Muteti said the Director of Public Prosecutions is committed to ensure the law is followed and that if a suspect was moved from the police cells to Nairobi for interrogation it was not within their knowledge.

“We will issue necessary directives to the investigators, there is no cause to issue an order against the Cabinet Secretaries,” said Mr Muteti.

In his ruling on Thursday, the magistrate said the country is under duty to co-operate with international law and that there is no conflict between it (country) and its laws.

Mr Gicheru said there were no reasons to doubt the documents presented to court by the prosecution in support of their application.

On Monday, the court was told that a warrant of arrest had been issued by a United States of America court against the suspects over narcotics importation conspiracy charge.

ACTIVE PROCEEDINGS
Mr Muteti told the court that there are active proceedings against the suspects in a US court.

However, Mr Ombeta said the warrants attached to the application do not have a date of issue.

Mr Ombeta said if there are no dates on them then they were not issued hence do not have an effect on the jurisdiction of the court.

Copies of the warrant for arrest from the US District court in Southern District of New York against the four suspects were attached to an application by Mr Muteti.

Mr Muteti said the DPP is satisfied that that there are sufficient grounds to seek provisional warrants of arrest pending the receipt of the original warrants from the US government as required by law.

“The National Police Service say they are investigating, the US indicate they have already charged (suspects), meaning they are ahead of us,” said Mr Muteti adding that they are yet to receive original warrants.

According to the application by the DPP, the US law enforcement agents working with their Kenyan counterparts have investigated the suspects for the offences among them conspiracy to import heroin.

Prosecuting counsel Lydia Kagori, in her affidavit in support of the application, said Kenya is under an international obligation to co-operate with other states in the fight against crime.

“The offences that the respondents have been indicted of are extraditable between Kenya and United States of America,” said Ms Kagori.

The case will be mentioned on Tuesday next week.

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