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D**g p*ddlers face harsh penalties in amended law

Thursday, May 20th, 2021 00:00 | By
Narcotic drugs. Photo/Courtesy

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Drug peddlers caught in possession of more than 100 grammes of narcotic drugs will be liable to a fine of Sh50 million or a jail term of 50 years or both following the passage of a new bill.

MPs last evening approved amendments to the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that has proposed harsh penalties on individuals engaged in the drug trafficking business.

In the new law which now awaits President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assent, the legislators also introduced a clause that will see individuals found in possession of between 1—100 grammes, subjected to a fine of not less than Sh30 million or to imprisonment for a term of 30 years or to both.

The legislators also approved an amendment by the committee on Administration and National Security chaired by Limuru MP Peter Mwathi, which will now bar any person convicted of peddling drugs and narcotic substances from seeking elective or appointive public office for 30 years after imprisonment.  

“A person who is convicted of an offence under this Act shall be disqualified from being elected or appointed as a public officer for a period of thirty years after the conviction,” reads the amendment.

Mwathi said there was need for the committee to simplify the categories of the grammes to enable implementers to fully comprehend the said section.

Homabay Town MP Peter Kaluma said the passage of the bill will henceforth put drug dealers in jail and deny them bail which they normally raise when it is granted to them.

“ This is the happiest day of my life, apart from paying three times the value of the drugs, these drug peddlers will also get life imprisonment,” he said.

The bill also prescribes offences for law enforcement officers who aid, abet accessories to any offence under the act.

According the law an enforcement officer or a public officer who aids or abets any offence including concealing the commission of any offence or colluding with any person suspected of committing an offence will be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than Sh 20million and imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years.

On the other hand, a law enforcement officer or a public Officer, does or directs to be done, in abuse of the authority of his office, upon conviction will be liable to a fine of not less than Sh 300 000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than five years, or to both.”

The new law also seeks to compel landlords and owners of buildings to conduct due diligence on their tenants and occupiers of their premises to avoid setting up clandestine laboratories.

According to law every owner, occupier or person concerned with the management of any premises will be required to keep a register in his premises and keep names and addresses of every person who occupies the building.

“Any person who fails to comply with this section, or who makes or causes or permits to be made in any register or book required by this section to be kept any entry which he knows or has reason to believe to be false shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine or not less than one million shillings or a term imprisonment of not less than two years or both,” it reads.

 Certain chemicals, precursors and solvents which are said to have led to the increase in the clandestine manufacture of drugs and psychotropic substances, but were not provided for under the Principal Act, have also been included in the Bill.

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