US may seek extraditions in drugs cases

February 3, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – The United States has hinted it may consider asking for the extradition of suspected drug traffickers from Kenya to stand trial overseas.

US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg on Thursday said his country enjoyed good judicial legal assistance ties with Kenya and they had no doubt they would succeed, incase such a request was made.

”It is hard to comment on the abstract, we’ve certainly have very strong mutual legal assistance ties with Kenya and I am confident that if presented with appropriate extradition cases, this could be handled initially by the Justice department but the state department also plays a role within our legal authorities to be supported with that appropriate request,” Mr Steinberg said.

Mr Steinberg was responding to a questions from a journalist in Nairobi who wanted to know if the US would consider asking for the extradition of drugs suspects as was the case in Jamaica where a prominent drug trafficker was arrested and taken to the US to face trial.

He spoke after meeting KACC Director Patrick Lumumba at his Integrity Centre offices.

Mr Lumumba on his part told journalists Kenya was considering seeking help from competent foreign authorities to help investigate the issue of drug trafficking.

He said he had held talks with the Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere on Wednesday over investigations police have been undertaking on drug trafficking in the country.

“I can confirm to you that I held talks with the Commissioner of Police yesterday [Wednesday] and he indicated to me that he had received an interim report [of investigations] and that report will be a subject of discussion,” he said.

“And if it becomes necessary to enlist the support of other organizations which have better expertise that is the direction which we will move because as you rightly say, fighting drugs is not a walk in the park and we hold the view that you need cooperation and where we don’t have expertise it is proper that we admit it and I believe that is the direction that will be taken,” he added.

On transnational crime, Mr Steinberg said: “Transnational criminal organisations are a threat to all of us and we do need to find ways to enhance our cooperation to deal with them.  They are a threat to public integrity; they are a threat to our children and so we are very determined and working with our partners around the world to strengthen our cooperation.”

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