Early June of this year U.S President Barack Obama imposed economic sanctions on seven suspected foreign drug lords, including two Kenyans-John Harun Mwau, a prominent politician, and Naima Mohamed Nyakiniywa, a local businesswoman.
The President froze the American assets of the seven under the U.S Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act of 1999, which permits authorities to freeze the American-based assets of international drug traffickers and denies designated drug lords access to the U.S. financial system.
Ever since, Mwau, reportedly one of the richest people in Kenya, has consistently claimed that the American government was out to acquire his extensive business interests in the United States. It’s not clear what those U.S. assets are though back in Kenya he has extensive holdings in supermarkets and other real estate.
Nonsense, says Adam Szubin, the Director of Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury, who on Tuesday dismissed Mwau’s claims, confirming that Mwau consistently imported narcotics and used his extensive contacts in the police force to provide protection for drug traffickers.
Addressing journalists during a video conference at the U.S embassy in Nairobi, Szubin revealed that Obama leveled sanctions against Mwau primarily because of a container holding 1.2 tonnes of cocaine intercepted at a container depot in Malindi, a town in Kenya’s coastal region, sometime in 2004. The drugs, with a street value of over $80 million, were destroyed in 2006. Szubin also disclosed that several U.S. government agencies, which have been monitoring Mwau for years, had built substantial evidence against him, thanks to information obtained through intelligence files, law enforcement agencies, and the nation’s Drug Enforcement Agency. The evidence, he said, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mwau is heavily involved in drug trafficking.
No response yet from Mwau but no doubt he will denounce the latest reports.