In Summary
  • Ms Karki Sushmi Ja, a 24-year-old Nepalese, was arrested alongside two men of Nepalese and Indian origin in an operation conducted by more than 20 police officers, including those from the anti-narcotics unit, at Mr Punjani’s residence in Nyali suburb.

  • The Nepalese man identified as Shiva Prasad Bashyal is Ms Sushmi’s cousin, who has been visiting since May. He was arrested with two rolls of bhang and cash in Sh100, Sh50 and Sh200 denominations.

The wife of Mombasa tycoon Ali Punjani, who is being sought by police over alleged drug trafficking, was Tuesday arrested as the government intensified its crackdown on suspected drug lords.

Ms Karki Sushmi Ja, a 24-year-old Nepalese, was arrested alongside two men of Nepalese and Indian origin in an operation conducted by more than 20 police officers, including those from the anti-narcotics unit, at Mr Punjani’s residence in Nyali suburb.

The Nepalese man identified as Shiva Prasad Bashyal is Ms Sushmi’s cousin, who has been visiting since May. He was arrested with two rolls of bhang and cash in Sh100, Sh50 and Sh200 denominations.

Detectives raid the home of drug trafficking suspect Ali Punjani in Nyali, Mombasa County, on August 13, 2019. PHOTO | MOHAMED AHMED | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Indian national, Mr Ram Manoj, 31, sources at the home said, was Mr Punjani's cook.

Mombasa police commander Johnston Ipara said the suspects, according to their travelling documents, have been frequenting Tanzania. Police confiscated the foreigners’ documents, including passports, a birth certificate and an ID that Ms Sushmi had. “We believe these people were hiding here when we came yesterday (Monday). We were denied access and yet they were in here. They are our suspects and we are going to interrogate them further,” said Mr Ipara.

He added that two workers were arrested and will be charged with giving false information to police. After the day-long search, police maintained that Mr Punjani was still a drug trafficking suspect.

The officers were accompanied by Mr Punjani’s lawyers led by Jeff Asige.

Separately in court, principal magistrate Edgar Kagoni dismissed an application seeking to detain Bofu MCA Ahmed Salama Omar for three days to investigate him over drug trafficking allegations.

He said there was no merit in the application filed through the DPP and ordered Mr Omar released.

Meanwhile, more than 50 people were yesterday charged in Shanzu and Mombasa law courts for being in possession of and trafficking drugs.

In Shanzu, of the 20 cases that were read, half of them were of people found with heroin, while the other half was for those who were found with bhang and cocaine.

“We are glad that we co-operated with the police and as far as we are concerned there are no narcotics that were found and linked to our client," he said, confirming that his client was in India receiving treatment.

But Mr Ipara insisted that the suspect is directly or indirectly involved in the illicit business.

“We still maintain that and we are going to prove this when we are done with searching all his houses,” said Mr Ipara who was accompanied by county DCI boss Anthony Muriithi.

Detectives raid the home of drug trafficking suspect Ali Punjani in Nyali, Mombasa County, on August 13, 2019. PHOTO | MOHAMED AHMED | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Ipara added that they are also hunting down two of Mr Punjani's relatives who were last seen driving towards Kwale County.

Separately in court, Principal magistrate Edgar Kagoni dismissed an application by the police seeking to detain a Ward Rep for three days to investigate him over drug trafficking allegations.

The magistrate said there was no merit in the application filed through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and ordered Mr Ahmed Salama Omar set free.

However, the court directed Mr Omar, the Bofu Ward representative to co-operate with the police when they need him.

The magistrate further noted that investigation officer in the case Mr Charles Onyango had confirmed that there were no drugs recovered and no witness statement had been recorded.

“Therefore the possibility of interfering with witnesses is nil,” said Mr Kagoni adding that since the MCA’s premises had already been searched he did not think there is any other place police would want to search.

The arrest of the MCA happened barely a day after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced a renewed war on drug dealers.

In their application, police sought to be granted three days to detain Mr Omar who was arrested on Monday, to complete investigations.

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