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Viewing cable 06NAIROBI72, S) INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING RING ENJOYS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06NAIROBI72 2006-01-09 01:01 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET Embassy Nairobi
VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #0072/01 0090117
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 090117Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8822
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0216
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1819
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 7949
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0916
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNA/DEA HQS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T NAIROBI 000072 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

PRETORIA FOR DEA/WAGNER; THE HAGUE FOR DEA; BOGOTA FOR DEA; 
LONDON FOR DEA; JUSTICE FOR OPDAT, JUSTICE FOR ICITAP 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/06/2031 
TAGS: SNAR PREL PINR KCRM PGOV KE
SUBJECT: (S) INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING RING ENJOYS 
IMPUNITY IN KENYA 

REF: A. 05 NAIROBI 2243 
B. 04 NAIROBI 5341 

Classified By: POL/Couns Michael J. Fitzpatrick. Reasons: 
1.4 (B,C,D) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: The absence of convictions in high-profile 
cocaine cases and the New Year's Eve murder of the lead 
police officer investigating drug trafficking through the 
Port of Mombasa (East Africa's regional maritime hub) amply 
demonstrate that international narcotics trafficking rings 
have made major inroads into Kenya, corrupting, bribing, 
intimidating and killing their way into position to operate 
with relative impunity. Little progress has been made in 
exposing those behind the shipment of, or providing political 
protection for, the record one ton-plus shipment of cocaine 
seized here in December 2004. The lackluster performance of 
legal and law enforcement authorities in the cases, the 
increasingly whispered fear that national politicos are 
providing protection for the ring, and now the murder of 
Officer Hassan Abdillahi, sharply undermine post's confidence 
that Kenyan authorities are serious about combating 
international narcotics trafficking. And despite continuing 
concerns of its possible diversion back onto the streets, 
Kenyan authorities are no closer to even deciding how or when 
to destroy that cocaine that actually has been seized. Post 
recommends it is time Washington turns up the heat. END 
SUMMARY. 

----------------- 
BUNGLING THE BUST 
----------------- 

2. (S) The then-largest recorded seizure of cocaine in 
Africa occurred in Kenya in December 2004, with simultaneous 
seizures of containers -- totaling more than one ton of 
cocaine -- in Nairobi and the coastal town of Malindi. This 
followed the interception in the Netherlands of a related 
consignment of cocaine (of several hundred kilos) believed 
shipped from Kenya by seaborne container. Dutch authorities 
arrested several persons, including the son of a former 
Kenyan Member of Parliament (MP). Kenyan authorities 
separately arrested 12 Kenyans and 2 Italians and charged 
them with involvement of the various shipments seized by the 
Dutch or Kenyan authorities. (NOTE: Initial information 
provided to the Kenyan authorities by European partners 
indicated exactly where "several tons" of cocaine was to be 
found in Kenya. When the Kenyan authorities finally did move 
on the information more than one week later, several 
implicated had calmly departed the country, and only one ton 
was recovered. END NOTE.) In the year since then, there has 
been minimal progress in the investigation -- and much cause 
for concern. 

3. (S) During a December 19 meeting with Emboffs,
XXXXXXXXXXXX expressed a high level of frustration with the
poor handling  of the investigation and prosecution by the Kenya Police Service and the Department of Public Prosecutions. Seven 
suspects stand accused of trafficking the cocaine seized 
December 2004 in both Malindi (837.5 Kg) and Nairobi (304 
Kg). Following months of mounting frustration with the 
prosecution,s failure to introduce the drugs into court as 
evidence (without which there is no case), Chief Magistrate 
Aggrey Muchelule had ordered the court to visit the warehouse 
where the drugs were stored. (NOTE: The drugs are 
technically under the court's jurisdiction, but were turned 
over to Police Commission Ali for safeguarding at a 
presumably secure, undisclosed location. One of the only 
three police officers said to have keys to the storage 
facility was murdered this year under highly suspicious 
circumstances; several of his immediate family members have 
since also been killed. The police balked at moving a ton of 
cocaine to the court -- or of having the court come to the 
"undisclosed" location. END NOTE.) 

4. (C) But the Court finally had its way, and helicopters 
ferried the drugs to and from a neutral location for the 
Court to inspect. The Court's October visit (with press in 
tow), however, did little to allay concerns that the drug 
haul may have been tampered with or that the drugs were 
finding their way back into the market. (NOTE: The arrests 
of a continuing stream of Kenyan Airways employees at 

London's Heathrow Airport for smuggling cocaine on flights 
from Kenya points ominously at the latter. The most recent 
arrest occurred just this week. END NOTE.) Upon viewing the 
seizure, defense attorneys alleged discrepancies in the 
weight and color of the displayed packets from those 
originally seized. Despite U.S., UK and Dutch repeated 
offers to assist in the analysis and testing of the seized 
goods, and to help trace the network responsible for the 
shipment, Kenyan authorities have kept all foreign missions 
at arms' length. To date, only a small fraction of the 
seizure has been tested -- in private, by the Kenyan Police. 
Controversy remains surrounding the manner and timing of 
destruction of the drugs; neither the court nor the 
government has a plan to confirm that what is still being 
warehoused is cocaine (and not flour or some other 
substitute), much less a plan for publicly destroying the 
seized drugs. The court case is scheduled to resume before 
Magistrate Muchelule January 15, 2006. 

5. (C) Kenya,s confused and conflicting legal provisions on 
the analysis requirements for narcotics seizures also hinder 
the investigation. As a result of U.S., UK and Dutch 
pressure, the Nairobi branch of the United Nations Office on 
Drug and Crime worked with the State Law Office and the 
Department of Public Prosecutions to develop a protocol to 
the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Regulations on 
the seizure, analysis, and disposal to facilitate the 
investigation and prosecution of these seizures. Drafted 
months ago, the protocol has yet to come into force. The 
Attorney General must still draft, and then table an 
amendment before Parliament, which must then vote a change in 
one of the governing laws before the AG can even issue 
regulations to implement the protocol. But Parliament has 
prorogued by the President (for unrelated reasons) until at 
least March ) too late to assist in the prosecution of at 
least one of the cocaine cases. 

------------------------------------- 
INCOMPETENCE? LACK OF WILL? OR WORSE? 
------------------------------------- 
6. (S) In the first of the two cases being pursued in Kenya, 
seven suspects were acquitted November 18 of drug trafficking 
charges connected to the shipment of drugs originating from 
Kenya seized in the Netherlands. The presiding magistrate, 
Rose Ougo, sharply criticized the police and the prosecution 
for their failure to build a case connecting the Kenyan 
defendants with the drugs, or to even establish that the 
substance seized was a narcotic. Muchelule privately 
complained to Emboffs that Kenyan legal and law enforcement 
authorities did not liase with authorities in the Netherlands 
to even confirm that what was seized was cocaine. Nor, he 
said, do they cooperate in the Dutch investigation of the 
case. Ougo was reportedly enraged that evidence she 
understood had been collected was not presented in Court. 
(COMMENT: Though he did not say so explicitly, we took his 
comments to imply that both Muchelule and Ougo were aware of 
quiet rumors that Dutch phone records implicating Kenyan 
politicians with the traffickers, among other items, had been 
stripped out of the prosecutor's case file. END COMMENT.) 
Ougo, Muchelule said, had no choice but to dismiss the 
charges for lack of evidence. In her decision, the 
magistrate issued scathing statements accusing legal and law 
enforcement authorities of conducing shoddy investigations. 
The handling of the case was so deficient that the magistrate 
questioned the seriousness of the Attorney General,s 
commitment to combating drug trafficking. (Post is seeking a 
copy of Ougo's ruling, which has yet to be published.) 

7. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX decried to Poloff December 1 that the separation of  the two December 2004 cocaine cases was a
ruse to prevent  successful investigation or prosecution. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the  move &buried8 evidence of an
international trafficking ring  operating (with official sanction) i
 Kenya by denying the  authorities the ability to make a legal connection between  the cocaine seized in Kenya and the
shipment sized in the  Netherlands. (XXXXXXXXXXXX) According
to  XXXXXXXXXXXX, those being prosecuted now are mere scapegoats, while  the real guilty parties (including Christopher Murungaru, who  was Security Minister at the time of the initial seizure,  later moved to Transportation (which oversees the ports), and  only removed from the cabinet last November) enjoy impunity. 

--------------------------------------------- --- 
MURDER OF OFFICER INVESTIGATING DRUG TRAFFICKING 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
8. (S) Further undermining confidence in the ability of law 
enforcement, Kenya Ports Authority District Criminal 
Investigations Officer (DCIO) Hassan Abdillahi was murdered 
this past December 31. Criminal Investigations Division 
(CID) Chief Joseph Kamau publicly stated that Abdillahi's 
murder may have been linked to his investigations into 
organized narcotics trafficking and related criminal activity 
through the Port of Mombasa. (He reportedly had been 
investigating the theft of 39 shipping containers from a 
secure port facility. Press reports allege that Interpol had 
tipped Abdillahi to the possible presence of another major 
cocaine shipment in the identified containers.) Abdillahi was 
perceived by a number of Embassy personnel as being deeply 
committed to tackling fraud and drug trafficking at the Port 
of Mombasa. However, a British diplomat revealed to 
PolCouns January 5 that Abdillahi might have had close ties 
to the late drug baron Ibrahim Akasha and his family. (NOTE: 
The Akasha family long controlled drugs (then mostly 
hashish, heroin, cannibis) along through Mombasa to Europe, 
with Kenyan police, judges and politicians all bought or 
intimidated. Akasha was gunned down in Amsterdam in May 2000. 
One of Akasha's sons was gunned down in 2002 in Mombasa. END 
NOTE.) Thus, goes this theory, with the Akasha family's 
wings clipped and now supplanted by upstarts, a falling out 
among thieves over control of the port could have been behind 
Abdillahi's aggressive investigations -- and his killing. 
Meanwhile, it is undisputed that cocaine consumption among 
Kenyan coastal youths has soared in the past several years. 

9. (S) A number of suspects have been arrested for 
questioning about Abdillahi's death. Among them: four 
brothers of (known thug and rich-far-beyond-visible-means) 
Juja MP William Kabogo, who is also owner of a port container 
transshipment company. (One of those brothers arrested had 
been arrested the day before Abdillahi was killed, having 
been charged with the theft of the 39 suspect containers.) 
Curiously, the Chief of Inspections for CID avowed to Embassy 
Legal Attach January 4 that the police have little to no 
leads in the case. In a December 16 conversation with 
PolCouns, XXXXXXXXXXXX stated baldly that Mombasa CID had uncovered clear evidence of high-level political protection of corruption and drugs 
trafficking in the port. His CID sources, he said, were very 
nervous about digging further, fearing that it would get them 
killed. (XXXXXXXXXXXX.) Mandera Central MP (and Shadow Finance Minister)  Billow Kerrow publicly questioned the police,s ability to 
properly investigate the killing, alleging that members of 
the police themselves may have been behind the shooting, and 
called for international assistance to investigate the crime. 
Former DPP Murgor has made similar calls. The government 
has yet to comment publicly -- other than Police Commissioner 
Ali's urging the public not to speculate on any possible 
narcotics or corruption as being the motive for Abdillahi's 
murder. 

------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
10. (S) COMMENT: The mishandling of the cocaine seizure 
cases and the brazen murder of the DCIO raise strong 
suspicions about the integrity of legal and law enforcement 
authorities to investigate or prosecute the case. (Indeed, 
simply shipping cocaine in multi-ton loads suggests: a) that 
this was not a virgin voyage, but one which employed a 
well-used route, and b) a route the shippers were comfortable 
was protected from interception.) Nor can one be assured 
that the seized drugs remain properly safeguarded. As long as 
the shipment remains undestroyed, pressure to resell it will 
only continue. As noted ref A, there have long been reasons to be concerned that high-ranking Kenyan government and/or 
police officials are either protecting those involved or are 
themselves involved in actual involvement in drug trafficking 
activities. (XXXXXXXXXXXX) Post presented a diplomatic note to the MFA 
January 6, renewing the offer of U.S. government assistance 
in investigating the December 2004 cocaine seizure case and 
offering to assist in the investigation of Abdillahi,s 
murder. Post recommends a letter (to be prepared by Post) 
from either INL A/S Patterson or DEA Administrator Tandy be 
sent to the Kenyan Attorney General, Minister of Internal 
Security and Police Commissioner, reiterating U.S. offers of 
assistance and pressing the Kenyans to invigorate their 
investigation efforts. Post also seeks to amend its previous 
submission for the annual INCSR. It is clear that only a 
combination of public and private pressure, well coordinated 
with our diplomatic allies, will move this government to even 
attempt to kick its increasingly dangerous drug habit. 
BELLAMY