MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 24 – A Mombasa court on Thursday ruled that it did indeed hold the jurisdiction to hear and determine an extradition matter concerning the Akasha brothers.
Chief Magistrate Julius Nang’ea therefore dismissed an application lodged by the brothers, challenging the lower court’s jurisdiction to hear and determine such matters and directed that the case proceed.
“The issue of the court’s jurisdiction will more properly be determined at the hearing of the main extradition motion. I therefore most respectfully decline to consider the merits of the arguments of counsel at this point.
“On the merits of the charges the suspects would face in the USA if extradited, I concur with the State that this is really not a matter for this court to decide. Therefore I direct that any legal issues relating to the extradition proceedings including the matter of the court’s jurisdiction be canvassed at the main hearing.”
Baktash Akasha, Gulam Hussein, Ibrahim Akasha and Vijaygiri Goswami are accused of trafficking Sh1 billion worth of heroin into the country in 2014.
The US had applied for the extradition of the four to stand trial on allegations of being part of an international drug trafficking ring.
Nang’ea gave as part of his reasons for dismissing the challenge to his court’s jurisdiction a precedent of bad faith preliminary objections filed with the intention of dragging out the substantive hearing and timely determination of extradition cases.
Following the dismissal of the Akasha’s preliminary objection, the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti informed the court there were no witnesses lined up to testify and that he would rely on affidavit evidence to make his case.
Kenya, Muteti argued, had a responsibility to honour its extradition obligations to the United States by which the four accused are wanted to face drug charges.
The four were arrested by Kenyan and US detectives at the Akasha’s Nyali home on November 10, 2014 on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by a New York court.
The case will be mentioned on November 31.