The anti-drugs agency, Nacada, has cleared former Kilome MP John Harun Mwau of any involvement in the drugs trade in a move that could raise questions about its mandate.
Documents seen by the Sunday Nation show that Mr John Mututho, Chairman of the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse, gave Mr Mwau a clean bill of health on January 14.
Mr Mututho’s letter states specifically that the former MP was not linked to the Sh6.4 cocaine haul seized in Nairobi and Malindi in 2004, and which was said to be the largest in Africa.
US President Barack Obama in 2011 blacklisted Mr Mwau and six other suspected drug lords over the haul. Mr Mwau has always maintained his innocence.
The politician wrote to Nacada on January 8, giving the authority seven days to say whether it had any evidence implicating him in the illegal trade.
“In order to protect my name and reputation, I would want Nacada to confirm or deny whether, in its investigations, it has established any scintilla of evidence that I would have been involved in drug trafficking, and if such information exists and is credible, give full particulars as to where, when and with whom I was involved in drug trafficking,” he said.
Mututho responded a week later, saying the agency had no evidence linking Mr Mwau to the drugs trade.
“The authority does not have any evidence of you or any other Member of Parliament being involved in drug trafficking or drug abuse. The circumstances (sic), authority is aware that a total of approximately 1 tonne of cocaine seized in Kenya in 2004 was seized from two locations, Malindi and a godown in Embakasi. The authority is not aware of any cocaine seized in 2004 from Pepe Inland Port,” says Mr Mututho.
CONSULTED NACADA LAWYERS
On Saturday, Mr Mututho said he had consulted Nacada lawyers before writing to the politician.
“There was no cocaine from Pepe. We know only of one tonne from Malindi and Embakasi. If you know anything about drugs at Pepe, I will be happy if you can give me that information. We cannot leave things pending unless we are hiding something.
“I checked with our (Nacada) lawyers and technical people, who said there is nothing irregular with me writing the letter,” he said.
Nacada is a State agency and chairmen of such institutions do not have the powers to clear individuals of any past or present allegations.
Under the law, Nacada is the focal point for war against drug and substance abuse. It works with police to enforce the law.
Mr Mwau argues that it is within Nacada’s powers to clear his name.
“It follows, therefore, that the war against drug abuse and drug trafficking cannot be won through false and/or fabricated allegations against innocent individuals,” says Mr Mwau.
The politician says that in 2011, the US Government alleged that some MPs, including himself, were involved in drug trafficking in Kenya. He says he is a law-abiding citizen of high integrity and morals and is not involved in any criminal activity.
“In December 2010 and June 2011, the US Government through its then Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, by an unsubstantiated claim, alleged that some MPs were involved in drug trafficking in Kenya and, unfortunately, I was one of those whose names were included.”
He says the US Government based its decision on claims that the police had linked him to the cocaine haul seized at Pepe Inland Port in 2004.
“As a matter of fact, the allegation was and is false as it is a matter of public information that the only total of one tonne of cocaine ever seized in Kenya was in 2004 where about 840 kg were seized in Malindi and about 300 kg were seized from a godown at Embakasi in Nairobi,” he writes.
Mr Mwau claims that the allegations to link him to drugs were politically motivated and calls on Nacada to protect him.
“I expected Nacada, as an impartial Kenyan institution, would come out strongly after the allegations to confirm the veracity of the claims made against me and other Members of Parliament — whether it is true that the alleged individuals were involved in drug trafficking as alleged,” says Mwau.
Mr Mwau says that he also expected Nacada to use its grassroots network to establish “where in Kenya the alleged MPs would all have been involved in drug trafficking”.
“My belief is that Nacada was the best suited institution to confirm whether the malicious and unfounded allegations were true or not … Nacada was a creature under the Ministry of Provincial Administration and Internal Security, which also has grassroots presence of National Intelligence Service, CID and general police … With such a network and array of resources at its disposal, no person should be able to sell or traffic in narcotic drugs as an MP and go undetected,” says Mr Mwau.
Other suspected drug lords named by the US Government were Naima Mohamed Nyakinywa — a Kenyan reported to be in a Tanzanian jail, Manuel Torres Felix, Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza (Mexico), Haji Lal Jan Ishaqzai (Afghanistan), Kamchybek Asanbekovich Kolbayev (Kyrgyzstan) and Javier Antonio Calle Serna (Colombia).
Mr Mwau later sued Mr Ranneberger and the Attorney- General over the allegations. The case is still pending, but Mr Ranneberger’s tour of duty ended in 2011.
In November 2011, the then Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode — who died in a plane crash in June 2012 together with Internal Security Minister George Saitoti — told Parliament that there was no evidence linking Mr Mwau to drug trafficking.
Earlier in June 2011, a senior police officer, Mr Julius Ndegwa, swore an affidavit clearing Mr Mwau of links to drug trafficking or other criminal activities.
According to American law, suspects indicted under the so-called Kingpin Act cannot transact any business with US businesses or citizens.
The Act allows the US Government to freeze their assets in the US and ban its nationals from having any business dealings with the individuals sanctioned.