AG names the team that will destroy the biggest cocaine stash ever



ATTORNEY General Amos Wako last evening released details and procedures to be followed in the destruction of the Sh 6.4 billion cocaine haul on Friday.

The AG also released names of individuals charged with the responsibility of overseeing the entire process, from the verification to destruction.

Charged with oversight role are representatives from Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko and John Oriri Onyango (AG’s office), Government Chemists Mrs Jane Okado and Habel Omondi, Government Analyst Paul Kangethe, GSU Commandant Mathew Iteere, M. Kimaiyo (representing Police Commissioner), Gideon Kimilu (representing CID director) and a representative of the Anti-Narcotics Unit Justus Irungu.

The British High Commission would be represented by Mark Norton , UK Drug Liason Officer Mark Harding , Kit Townsend, UK Liason officer from the Customs and Excise Gordon Adam and William Folkard of UK forensics science services.

The United States team comprises Michael Fitzpatirck Jeff Culver (regional security law enforcement officer), Jeniffer Barnes (information officer), John Burton (Federal Bureau of Investigations), and a representative from US Department of Justice.

The team leader, Mrs Okado shall at all times, personally supervise, direct and coordinate the activities of the verification and inspection of the consignment. She will be answerable to the AG through the DPP.

The inspection, verification, which includes weighing and sampling of the consignment shall be conducted at the GSU Training School, Embakasi.

According to Mr Wako, the physical verification of the cocaine haul will include the number of packages, a description of the packages, appearances of packages including signs of pilferage and photographing of the packages.

The results of the initial verification done by the Government Chemist when the drug was seized and that of the international experts would be compared.

Wako says the main purpose of testing the seizures is to confirm that the haul is still as intact as it was at the time of the recovery. Testing for the type of the drug will include both a preliminary test and a confirmatory test.

On the procedures to be used in sampling, Wako said the consignment shall be considered as three separate population:

  • Those packages tested by the Government Chemist in December 2004 (42 packages totalling 26 from Malindi and 16 from Nairobi);
  • Remaining Malindi seizures (701 packages weighing 837.5 Kgs minus the 26 packages tested in population 1 or 675 packages and;
  • Remaining Nairobi seizures (253 packages weighing 304 Kgs minus the 16 packages tested in population 1 or 237 packages.

The exact sampling and testing methods will be decided by the representatives of the Chief Government Chemist in consultation with the international experts based, among other things, on the results of the verification process, staff technical capabilities and physical and equipment infrastructure available,” said Wako.

The AG said at least 21 one-gram samples shall be sent for further testing and research laboratory in the United States.

The destruction process using incinerator shall require a minimum of eight hours, said Wako. The destruction process, he said, shall take place in the presence of the magistrate, prosecution, the accused, the defence counsel, invited media representatives and invited dignitaries.

“It shall be conducted in an open, transparent and public manner,” said Wako in a statement. And the boxes containing the seized drugs shall only be opened in the presence of Mrs Okado, GSU Commandant and one representative of the international partners.

The cocaine has been in police custody at the GSU Training School since December 2004.

Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and other top security officers have on three occasions since Thursday inspected the Kemri incinerator where the haul will be destroyed.

Sources say Kemri is better placed than Kenyatta National Hospital or the Forces Memorial Hospital to incinerate the drugs since its staff had better experience in the disposal of chemical wastes from the institution’s laboratories. It also offered better security and control over human traffic.

The cocaine destruction was initially scheduled for Friday last week, but the exercise was postponed after the foreign experts failed to make it for Nairobi on time.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule had ordered that the drugs be destroyed last week and in accordance with the law in addition to internationally accepted procedures.

The order to destroy the 1.1 tonnes of cocaine will finally put to rest fears that the drugs could have been tempered with.

The Magistrate’s order came a week after the state sought a court order to destroy the consignment, saying it was a strain on the country’s security personnel who have to keep guard round the clock.

The government’s application came days after British and American envoys in Nairobi met Wako and expressed concern over the drugs safety.

On Friday last week, the A-G went back to court seeking an extension of the order. He said he had invited experts from the UN, UK and the US to participate in the verification and destruction.

Seven people have been charged with trafficking the cocaine. They are Mr Angelo Ricci, Ms Estella Duminga, Mr Railton Munthungu, Mr David Mugo Kiragu, Mr Davis Gachago, Mr Stanley Wango, Mr Tansukhulal Thanki and Central Valley Supplies. They have denied committing the offense on December 14,2004.

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