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Vol 47 No 12

Published 9th June 2006


The cocaine conspiracy

The Kibaki government's bizarre handling of a multimillion dollar drug smuggling case is letting the real villains walk free

On 19 June, Justice Aggrey Muchelule is to hand down a verdict in the case of two Italians and five Kenyans charged with smuggling 1.2 tonnes of cocaine into Kenya. The prosecution is a test-case of the government's determination to root out corruption and criminality in its ranks. Senior legal officials and diplomats following the case regard the prosecution of the seven as an attempt to divert attention from the involvement of a group of politically connected Kenyans and foreigners in a conspiracy to repackage cocaine worth hundreds of millions of dollars for export to Europe. The handling of the cocaine case by President Mwai Kibaki's government - particularly its failure to account for millions of dollars' worth of cocaine in police custody and locate several millions more - has prompted further tensions with Western governments already unimpressed by its proclaimed determination to tackle official corruption.

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