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Economy

Karume kin seized with drugs

Kenneth Wathugi Karume, a grandson of late tycoon Njenga Karume, when he appeared in court in May over the  murder of his girlfriend in Kiambu. PHOTO | FILE
Kenneth Wathugi Karume, a grandson of late tycoon Njenga Karume, when he appeared in court in May over the murder of his girlfriend in Kiambu. PHOTO | FILE 

Another grandson of former minister Njenga Karume is in trouble with the law after his arrest in a cocaine and marijuana trafficking investigation in the latest of the legal battles involving a member of the tycoon’s family.

Police arrested James Njenga Kihato in his house in Lavington, Nairobi, together with Lawrence Muketo Ngula and Joseph Mutua Kimeu.
Detectives recovered imported high-grade marijuana and sachets of hard drugs, including cocaine.

Mr Kihato’s troubles come three months after his cousin,  Kenneth Wathugi Karume, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend in Kiambu.

The Karume’s family has also been locked in a vicious fight with trustees managing the late businessman cum politician’s empire.

The late tycoon’s three children are engaged in court battles with Mr Karume’s trustees for control of the property he left behind.

Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) head Hamisi Massa said the three trafficking suspects would be charged in court on Thursday.

The suspects, said to be also operating a narcotics distribution network in Nairobi and Kampala, were arrested in an operation led by ANU detectives.

Police said earlier reports indicated Mr Kihato had been importing narcotics such as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) into the country.

According to the police, LSD is highly addictive and popular drug among young people in Nairobi. The drug alters awareness of the surrounding, feelings and images producing hallucinations.

The law sets the penalty for trafficking narcotics as life behind bars.

Mr Karume, a former Defence minister, died in 2012 and left the management of his estate to a trust, with Nduta Kamithi, Kung’u Gatabaki, Henry Waireri Karume and George Ngugi Waireri as its managers.

But his three children have since been trying to wrest back control of the business empire.

Lucy Karume, Samuel Karume and Albert Karume claim that the trustees are mismanaging the late politician’s property and want to be handed control of their father’s estate.

The trustees, however, contend that the children want to defy their father’s will, and that the businesses’ financial misfortunes started well before Karume’s death.

The late politician’s vast empire is estimated to be worth about Sh100 billion and includes expansive land, Cianda House in Nairobi, several apartments, Jacaranda Hotels in Nairobi and Mombasa, Lake Elementaita Lodge and Village Inn.

The criminal charges facing the two grandchildren are now adding another layer to the court troubles facing the family.

Mr Wathugi was charged in April with murdering his girlfriend Victoria Wairimu Kulungia after pushing her from the fourth floor of Gracia Apartment in Kiambu Town was in May 30 released on a Sh1 million cash bail.

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