Corruption and Drugs Deals Cut During Judicial Retreats

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By Investigative Journalist Matthew Russell Lee, New York, August 19, 2019
On 16th August 2019 Baktash Akasha was sentenced to a mere 25 years in jail and fined USD 100,000 (Ksh. 10 million) by a New York Court. 
The Akasha brothers pled guilty to 6 counts of drug trafficking and illegal use of firearms, charges that usually result in life imprisonment. So why such a lenient sentence?
There are more curiosities about Baktash’s sentencing beyond the lenient sentencing. 

  • First, the prosecutor did not raise any objections to the light sentence,
  • Secondly, rather that put his entire wealth which is approximated at nearly Ksh. 6 Billion into civil forfeiture, the light bite Ksh.10 million was fined again without objection. 
  • Thirdly, though arrested and charged jointly, Baktash was sentenced alone with Ibrahim Akasha due for sentencing in early November.

What does it all mean?
In the case of Baktash, these are the tell-tale signs that a plea deal was agreed between the US prosecutor’s office and Baktash. 
A similar path was taken on notorious 1970s drug lord Frank Lucas whose life sentence was reduced to 5 years (time served) once he entered a plea deal and led to the arrest of over 100 drug dealers, corrupt police officers, customs officials and judges.
Plea deals are a crime fighting weapon in the US that are responsible for taking down drug dealers and the Italian and Irish mobs.
The Baktash Akasha plea deal, while not the most lenient, is very troubling for his associates back in Kenya. 
What the Akasha sentence means

The star witness in convicting the Akashas was their long-time associate Vijay Goswami. 
He provided dates, places and names of people the Akashas did business with and officials bribed in Kenya to allow their drug empire to grow. 
While his testimony was enough to close the case on Baktash, cooperation and corroboration by the Akashas would more than seal the fate of the persons named in the over 3,500 pages of testimony provided by Goswami spanning the years between 2009 and 2017.

Names on DCI radar
The most adversely named persons are lawyer Cliff Ombeta, judge Dora Chepkwony (who was stationed in Mombasa), judge Aggrey Muchelule (who allegedly became a business associate), judge Chacha Mwita (who allegedly offered judicial protection) and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu (allegedly involved in a money laundering racket through a third party). 

Other judges and lawyers are mentioned as well with the meetings taking place on the sidelines of judicial conferences and retreats or abroad during the peak holiday season.

Retreats as mega corruption and drugs platforms
That means the annual colloquium by judiciary in the Coastal city of Mombasa, like one taking place as you read this today, have been more than meets the eye. That explains why even judges who should step aside over corruption cases attend them. It also means some judges convert their courts into underground cash ducts and use judicial retreats as corruption and drugs platforms.

With Baktash’s plea deal, bank accounts and transfer dates including transferred amounts will become state’s evidence against the associates and accomplices of the Akasha empire.

Vijay Gosami surrendered into evidence his ledger, the black book that prosecutors love for detailed bookkeeping.

Who is Mathew Russel?

I am a journalist who founded Inner City Press and has covered The Bronx, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street scams, the International Monetary Fund and, since 2005, the United Nations.

After my coverage of UN failures in Sri Lanka, Haiti, Sudan, Western Sahara, Burundi, Yemen and elsewhere expanded into John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case in 2016, the UN evicted me and Inner City Press from long time UN office S-303.

In 2018 as I pursued UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ silence and conflict of interest on the slaughter in Cameroon and the new CEFC / Sam Kutesa UN bribery scandal, UN Security physically ousted me on June 22 and July 3 and imposed a ban on me entering the UN. It’s called censorship: https://www.cjr.org/the_profile/reporter-expelled-un.php

Footnote:

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