WAR ON DRUGS

Three arrested, no drugs found in Punjani home raid

Mombasa police commander Johnstone Ipara laughed off reports of Punjani having enjoyed 24-hour security of armed police guards.

In Summary

• The three, Karki Sushmija, 24, Shiva  Bashyal, 30 and Maloj Rom were found in Punjani's sitting room. 

• Sushmija, Punjani's alleged third wife, is from Nepal, Bashyal is her cousin while Rom is Bashyals friend.

Police raided the home of Ali Punjani on Monday, August 12, 2019.
Police raided the home of Ali Punjani on Monday, August 12, 2019.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Three foreigners were arrested including a woman who claimed to be Mombasa tycoon Ali Punjani's wife after police raided his home in search of narcotics. 

The five-hour search found no drugs.

The three, Karki Sushmija, 24, Shiva  Bashyal, 30 and Maloj Rom were found in Punjani's sitting room. 

 

Sushmija, Punjani's alleged third wife, is from Nepal, Bashyal is her cousin while Rom is Bashyals friend.

Police have detained the three and are analysing their travel documents. 

"Yesterday (Monday) we could not access this house because we were told the owners were not there. Now we have found them inside. Immediately they become our suspects," Mombasa Police commander Johnstone Ipara told reporters at the scene.

police searched rooms for evidence of drug links to the tycoon who has in the past funded campaigns of prominent politicians in the country.

Detectives searched bonnets and interiors of Toyota V8  KCB 992Z, Toyota Noah  KCN 577E and Mercedes Benz S350 KBY 786A luxury cars at the parking bay.

Two drug-sniffer dogs walked through kitchen cabinets, fridges, sniffed under carpets and sofa sets in the six-room house with exits facing the Indian Ocean.

Punjani is in India for treatment for heart disease.

 

Yesterday, his lawyer Jeff Asige told the press Punjani has been in Mombasa doing his business and "we don't understand what this is all about." 

Asige maintained that his client is innocent.

Reports say Punjani is well connected in the security echelons and has been roaming freely, until on Sunday when Interior CS Fred Matiang'i announced a  drag crackdown at the Coast.

The tycoon shot to limelight in 2010 when a report by US Embassy issued by the then Interior CS George Saitoti in Parliament mentioned him among the most dangerous drug traffickers in the country.

The report also said Punjani was an influential campaigner of a powerful Coast politician, who is now a sitting governor.

This year, a US court trying Akashas heard how at one time the brother beat Punjani and his associates at a club in Nairobi over drug trade rivalry.

Punjani's house in Nyali, speaks of affluence, a striking contrast with neighbours whose houses are tainted with rust and dirt.

Ipara laughed off reports of Punjani having enjoyed 24-hour security of armed police guards.

Meanwhile, a Mombasa MCA arrested on Monday over drug trafficking allegations was on Tuesday released.

Ahmed Salama, Bofu Ward MCA, was among 17 people arrested separately in Mombasa on a narcotics crackdown ordered by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangi.

Bofu Ward is in Likoni constituency, another region heavily affected by the drug menace in Mombasa County.

Kisauni and Mvita constituency also have large numbers of youth addicted to drug abuse.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mombasa senior resident magistrate Edgar Kagoni declined a request by investigation officers to hold the suspect for three days to enable them to complete their probe.

Salama’s lawyer Yusuf Abubakar told the court that police officers had carried out a search in two of his client’s houses and did not find any drugs or evidence.

He said his client was first summoned to the Likoni police station before he was arrested.

“My client is cooperative. He is willing to continue cooperating with the police. The officers have also confirmed that they did not find any evidence linking him the charges pressed against him,” Abubakar said.

Kagoni released Salama saying that he had proven to be cooperative.

He said the MCA’s house had also been searched and there was no evidence found linking him to drug trafficking charges. 

“The houses were searched. The police confirmed that they did not get any evidence, this, therefore, means that the suspect will not interfere with the crime scene,” Kagoni said.

The search for narcotics continues even as questions arise as to why police are acting now.

(edited by O. Owino)