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Economy

Mwau in fresh bid to clear name over narcotics link

John Harun Mwau, former Kilome Member of Parliament. FILE PHOTO | NMG
John Harun Mwau, former Kilome Member of Parliament. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Former Kilome MP John Harun Mwau has filed a fresh petition in court seeking to clear his name on alleged involvement in the global narcotics trade.

Mr Mwau says in documents filed in court that he has never met Swaleh Kandereni — a businessman believed to be close to Colombia’s drug cartels — and does not have any relationship with him or Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho (also accused of involvement in narcotics trade).

The businessman, who also served as assistant minister in former President Mwai Kibaki’s government, says he does not frequently travel to Colombia as has been alleged in some reports, and that he has no associates in the South American country known to be one of the world’s largest narcotics producers.

Mr Mwau’s papers are in support of a suit he has filed against the foreign authors of two blog posts published in January 2017 that linked him to Mr Kandereni. The bloggers, Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Michael Goldstein, are yet to respond to the suit.

Mr Agnon, whose name is similar to a deceased Israeli Nobel Prize winner, is a British national. He runs the Intelligence Briefs website. Mr Goldstein’s nationality is yet to be established, but he is listed as the owner of Politico Affairs.  

Mr Mwau’s suit comes at a time the government has cranked up its rhetoric on the drug trade in Kenya and followed it up with some action that has seen two Kenyans, Baktash and Ibrahim Akasha, extradited to the United States of America to face narcotics charges recently.

The two bloggers in their articles quoted intelligence briefs they said connected Mr Mwau and Mr Joho to Mr Kandereni. Mr Kandereni was in February arrested in Kanamai, Mombasa during a raid that recovered heroin worth Sh170 million.

Mr Mwau says in court papers that he “has never been subjected to any court or administrative proceedings concerning narcotics drug trafficking activity or linkage to cartels whether in Kenya or in the United States or anywhere in the world, facts that the defendants know or ought to know.” 

The former Kilome MP says he had only minimal interactions with Mr Joho in the National Assembly, when both were members of Parliament.

“Mr Mwau affirms that he does not travel to Colombia and does not know any person, drug dealer or cartel or drug trafficker in any country.

Additionally, the plaintiff has no and has never had any association or partnership with Ali Hassan Joho, Swaleh Kandereni, Colombian drug cartels or any member of their family, associates or friends,” he adds.

Mr Mwau is in two other cases seeking to clear his name over alleged trading in narcotics. In the first suit, he is seeking orders to have police produce a businessman also named John Harun Mwau, accused of using his identity to deal drugs and run an illegal M-Pesa account.

In the second suit, Mr Mwau wants his name expunged from a report compiled by South African researcher Peter Gastrow, which linked him to drug dealing, contract killings and money laundering.

Former US President Barack Obama in 2011 issued sanctions against Mr Mwau, another Kenyan identified as Naima Mohammed Nyakinywa and five international businessmen suspected of involvement in drugs trade.

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