Kenya wants pirates pact review

May 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – The government has now formed a Task Force to review a Memorandum of Understanding Kenya signed with other countries that are signatory to the Law of the Sea that requires them to take up and prosecute captured pirates.

In an interview with Capital News on Friday Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said the group would come up with a way out, since other countries had abdicated their responsibility leaving Kenya to grapple with the issue.

Mr Wetangula who spoke after meeting Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said that the government would also hold discussions with the European Union this coming week concerning the issue.

“We set up a technical team chaired by my PS (Thuita Mwangi) to go through all the six MOUs and find areas of strength and weakness that need to be addressed including our intention to sponsor UN resolution 1918 that was passed last week,” he said.

UN resolution 1918 calls on all countries signatory to the United Nations Convention to criminalise piracy under their national laws.

Mr Wetangula who maintained that the six-month notice to terminate the MoU stood, however noted that Kenya had in the past week taken in six pirates but had snubbed such requests on three separate occasions.

“Last week the Attorney General on the persistence of requests from the United Kingdom took in a new batch of pirates for prosecution. Of course that remains within the context of the existing MoU that each case must be dealt with and accepted or rejected on its own merit,” he said.

Kenya’s termination notice expires in September.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also absolved the AG from blame saying that by accepting to prosecute the pirates he was acting within the law.

“I have no doubt that the AG found merit in taking in the pirates from the UK whom he says he will prosecute.”

He also observed that Kenya was the biggest loser in the region when it came to piracy and that it would be difficult to ignore the threat posed by the buccaneers.

“At the peak of piracy insurance premiums for ships coming to the port of Mombasa went up by 40 to 50 percent and that spirals into destabilising our economy. Figures show that Kenya has been losing close to Sh2 billion per month because of piracy.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister also expressed concerns with the recent influx of Somali immigrants who found their way to Dubai using fake Kenyan passports.  He said that the United Arab Emirates had also raised the issue with Kenya to seek a solution.

Mr Wetangula explained that the development cast a negative light on Kenya and that the matter had been forwarded to the Prime Minister.

“They have witnessed a large number of arrivals from Mogadishu carrying Kenyan passports that on closer scrutiny appear to be forgeries. Obviously those carrying the passports cannot be Kenyans and yet the backlash is on Kenya. So the Ministry of immigration and other security organs are dealing with the issue,” he said.


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