How Monari fought bid to ship ‘drugs supplier’ to US

Lawyer Evans Monari

Lawyer Evans Monari takes the oath of office as a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission selection panel in October 2016. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenyan lawyer Evans Monari was among key witnesses of Pakistan national Asif Hafeez who issued statements faulting the United States for its efforts to extradite him from Britain to New York to answer charges of supplying drugs to the Akasha brothers.

The two brothers; Baktash Akasha Abdalla and Ibrahim Abdalla, Bollywood star Mamta Kulkarni and her husband Vicky Goswami, an Indian businessman, and Mr Ghulam Hussein, a Pakistan national, were extradited from Kenya in 2017.

Investigations by Nation, including scrutiny of documents filed at the Administrative Court of the King’s Bench Division of the UK High Court, indicate that Mr Monari was against a bid to take Mr Asif, a trained pilot turned businessman, to the US. Mr Monari died in 2021.

Mr Asif is currently jailed at Britain’s Belmarsh prison. He was arrested from his flat on August 17, 2017 by American agents with the aim of sending him to the US. He challenged the extradition in court and remains in the British prison ever since.

Against orders

In his statement, Mr Monari, said that, in the first place, the US went against orders issued by a Kenyan High Court that witnesses in the drug case should make an appearance in the court and issue their statements.

He said the Kenyan court had a right to hear their extradition case and that what the chief magistrate would have concluded should have been respected.

“Thereafter they had a right to apply for habeas corpus and for that application to be determined before they could lawfully be removed from Kenya. They were Kenyan citizens with a right to remain in Kenya and no immigration power could be relied upon to justify their removal outside the extradition process,” the lawyer said in court papers.

Mr Monari further said that allegations that the judges seized of the extradition case in Kenya were corrupt without any foundation and fails to deflect the real focus on the clear evidence of illegality by the same US executive that was party to both the Kenyan and UK proceedings.

He said the US had broken the law in Kenya by extraditing the Kenyans and it was absurd that they had listed them among witnesses who were supposed to give evidence against Mr Asif.

This is not the only witness lined up by Mr Asif, a known philanthropist who hobnobbed with the who is who in the UK including members of the English royal family.

The other is Mr Ifzaal Khan, who said he had been approached by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who issued threats against him.

Mr Khan said the DEA agents and officers from the British National Crime Agency (NCA) were pushing him to falsely implicate Mr Asif and deploy false publicity against him.

Living in fear

“I fear that if I return to the UK the DEA and NCA would continue to torture and blackmail me and hold me hostage until I agreed with their narrative,” he says in his statement.

He said that when it became hard for the officers to convince him they threatened him saying they were also planning to release his name to the press just like Mr Asif since they had his story. In the statement, he says he was not in a position to give details of his whereabouts because he was living in fear of his life.

During his interaction with the DEA agents and those from NCA, Mr Khan informed Mr Asif of what he was going through and the latter advised him to write everything down.

Mr Khan added that he visited Nairobi and even shared with Mr Goswani, who assured him he was winning the case against the DEA but this never happened.

He mentioned a DEA officer, a Mr Eric, in his statement saying, he told him they had already taken the Kenyan suspects to the US and Mr Asif’s case was just a matter of time. Another witness is Mr Milesh Taljera, a former DEA agent from Hong Kong’s special administrative region, said the DEA was interested in Mr Asif and Mr Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian national.

Mr Taljera said the arrest of the two Akasha brothers and three others was well coordinated with the help of Kenyan police officers paid by the DEA.

Final decision

“One of the officers even told me that, throughout the course of the extradition proceedings in Kenya, he believed that the Akasha brothers had bribed Kenyan government officials and members of the judiciary to grant them bail and eventually refuse their extradition to the US,” he said in his statement.

According to the statement, the DEA team then decided to kidnap the Akasha brothers and three others before the final decision was rendered by the Kenyan courts. When he questioned the legality of kidnapping someone, he was told American courts did not care how one arrived there as long as they had a case to answer.

Mr Talreja has provided a witness statement in support of Mr Hafeez, claiming that American agents wanted to trap both Mr Hafeez and Mr Ibrahim.

Now on the run somewhere in Hong Kong after falling out with the US officials for fear of being harmed or caught, Mr Talreja details how he was hired by DEA agents in Stockholm, Sweden, in April 2019. 

He says that the US Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, through its agents, instructed him to illegally record evidence in a number of foreign jurisdictions without legal authority.

Foreign intelligence

Mr Talreja says in his statement that, in mid-April 2019, he was requested by a foreign intelligence agency to meet with two special agents from the DEA, Mr Eric Stouch and Mr Stephen Casey, in Stockholm and it was there that he was hired as a confidential source after a series of meetings. 

Mr Talreja asked the American agents to, in return, help him with his issues in Australia and America to which they agreed. He says he would use a special phone loaded with software that would record audio, video and GPS coordinates and feed that information directly to DEA headquarters in Chantilly and a laptop controlled by Mr Stouch.