Kenya on 7th March gazette The Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, which will pave way for the implementation of the amended law that will help curb the increased cases of illicit drugs in the country.
The new law provides a framework for combating abuse of narcotics, drugs, and psychotropic substances by issuing several penalties.
Persons found to be manufacturing, possessing or transporting chemicals for unlawful production of a narcotic drug risks imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years.
It amends the penalties where the person is in possession of less than one gram, to a fine of not less than Sh5 million or imprisonment for not less than five years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
“Where a person is in possession of between one and 100 grams, he or she will be fined to not less than Sh30 million or imprisonment for 30 years, or to both such fine and imprisonment”.
Where the person is in possession of more than 100 gram, one will be fined not less than Sh50 million or three times the market value, whichever is greater or imprisonment for life or to both such fine and imprisonment.
The Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act also prescribes offences for law enforcement officers who aid or collude with persons suspected of committing offences under the law.
“A law enforcement officer or a public officer who aids or abets any offence under this Act including through concealing the commission of any offence or colluding with any person suspected of committing an offence under this Act, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than Sh20 million shillings and imprisonment for a term of not less than 20 years,” the amended act reads.
The amended Act also introduces the offence of conspiring with persons outside or inside Kenya to commit offences related to drug manufacturing, possession, and trafficking in or outside Kenya.
To enhance prosecution, the law has mandated the prosecution to access any encrypted communication as most drug traffickers use the system to avoid conceal communication.
The court may also make orders for a police officer to enter premises and to install devices to intercept or retain specific information.
Illicit Drugs and Eastern Africa
There is growing trafficking of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) into and through Eastern Africa, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC)
According to the UN agency, The international airports in Nairobi, Kenya, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are key entry points for illicit drugs into the region, primarily due to the frequent commercial flights from Asia and the Middle East.
The seaports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa are also cited as entry points for drug traffickers.
The following are the Key causes for the growing drugs trafficking in East Africa.
- Eastern Africa and Africa as a whole constitute a growing market for illicit drugs.
- frequent international flights
- inadequate trafficking controls make Eastern Africa–a convenient transit point for drug trafficking to the African continent at large, Europe and North America.
- corruption amongst some law enforcement and customs officers based at the seaports and airports.