23 April 2019

Kenya: Lack of Statements Delays Tycoon's Human Trafficking Case

The trial of Mombasa tycoon Asif Amirali Alibhai Jetha over human trafficking did not begin as expected on Tuesday as the state had not supplied witness statements.

The court was informed that the Director of Public Prosecution was yet to supply statements including those of 12 Nepalese girls whom the suspect is accused of trafficking.

The state intends to use the girls' statements to tighten the case against the businessman before deporting them.

But the suspect, through his lawyer Jared Magolo, said he has not received any documentary evidence that is to be used in his prosecution.

State Counsel Shakwila Ayekha said the prosecution had made arrangements to supply the statements and other required documents before the end of the week.

SEVERAL CHARGES

Mr Amirali is the proprietor of New Rangeela Bar and Restaurant in Nyali, where the women were found on April 13.

He has denied three counts of trafficking in persons, promoting human trafficking and interfering with travel documents.

The charge sheet states that between March 24 and 13, the suspect and accomplices trafficked by harbouring 12 Nepalese nationals for the purpose of exploitation by means of deception.

Mr Amirali is also charged with allowing use of his establishment for the crime and interfering with travel documents, the prosecution saying he confiscated the women's 12 passports, in furtherance of trafficking in persons.

The businessman also faced a charge of obtaining Sh800,000 from one Maru Deepak by pretending he could sell him a car on September 5, 2013.

The prosecutor also raised questions on the nationality of the businessman who has the Canadian and UK passports.

CASH BAIL

The state's bid to have Mr Amirali locked up until the case if determined failed as the prosecution did not give compelling reasons to deny him bail.

In addition, Mr Amirali informed the court that he had a spinal cord problem that needed close monitoring by his doctor.

The accused secured his freedom by depositing a Sh200,000 cash bail.

The case will be mentioned on April 26.

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