Foreign drug lords ‘thrive in Kenya’

A police officer displays some of the cocaine worth Sh8 million seized from a Nigerian at JKIA in Nairobi.

What you need to know:

  • Nigerian traffickers set up international networks in collusion with top government officials, says report

Foreigners working with senior government officials have established international drug trafficking networks locally, a new report reveals.

The report says they operate through four networks each headed by a Nigerian and a fifth led by a Guinean, which link drug producing countries in Latin America and consumers in Europe.

The report, which also exposes human trafficking, poaching, money laundering as well as gun running activities, is set to be launched on Tuesday.

Fake diplomatic bags

“Kenyans in top positions are seldom involved in specialised drug trafficking work such as overseas procurement. Their contribution is to keep the risk of drug traffickers in Kenya low. This is how networks penetrate State institutions,” it says.

One of the networks headed by a Nigerian procures cocaine from Latin America and smuggles it to the United States and Europe.

The drug lord also sends mules from Nairobi to “Peru, Bolivia and Brazil to source cocaine, which is then smuggled to Kenya via South Africa and Tanzania,” it further says.

And to ensure its operations are not easily detected, the traffickers use fake diplomatic bags and documents.

The report also borrows from previous reports which have blamed the illicit trade on corrupt government officials.

Besides corruption in government, the latest report cites weak laws as key factors that help the syndicates to develop locally.

“What they found in Kenya is what any international organised criminal group would find attractive; a weak criminal justice system in which the public has little trust,” it says.

The report describes Kenyan politicians as people who can be “easily bought,” while senior government officers are portrayed as individuals who “protected each other and enjoyed impunity from prosecution.”

Another Nigerian was identified as the head of the second network that used Namanga border point to bring in cocaine and heroin.

He uses the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to fly the drugs to Istanbul, Turkey, for distribution to the UK and other European markets.

“At least five of his couriers have been arrested in Tanzania, Seychelles, Turkey and Kenya,” says the report.

The third syndicate, headed by a Nigeria who travels on a Ghanaian passport, supplies Turkey and China, the report says.

Titled Termites at Work, a Report on Transnational Organised Crime and State Erosion in Kenya, the document does not name the drug lords.

It identifies a Guinean as the head of a fourth network who travels on a “stolen Burundian passport.”

“Couriers for this network have been arrested in China, Pakistan and Hong Kong,” it says.

The fifth drug lord, the report says, is also a Nigerian who travels on Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone passports.

“He focuses on heroin which is smuggled from Pakistan through Uganda to Kenya and then on to Europe. His couriers have been arrested in Hong Kong,” the report says.

It also accuses him of tax evasion and money laundering.

With regard to money laundering, the report says such cash ends up with the Somali-based al Shabaab terror group, which has links to al Qaeda.

A separate report by the US State Department said Kenya could be laundering up to $100 million (Sh10 billion) every year.