Inside the binding Akasha plea deal with US attorney

Sons of slain drug baron pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking, violence and bribery in United States court to get lenient jail term

 Irene Githinji and Sophie Njoka

Two sons of slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha may not be allowed to appeal their sentence by the United States after the duo signed a plea agreement with US authorities. 

The brothers—Baktash and Ibrahim— pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking drugs to the US, bribery and violence in an attempt to get a lenient jail term. Having pleaded guilty, they face a maximum of life imprisonment, which is the total maximum for all the six counts they faced.

A strong case built by US prosecutors is the likely reason the Akasha brothers chose not to stand trial.

The agreement bars the two as well as the government from appealing any sentence. It also indicates they could pay a fine of up to ($10 million) Sh1 billion.

“The defendant also agrees not to appeal any fine that is equal to or less than the $10,000,000 (Sh1 billion) and the government agrees not to appeal any fine that is greater than or equal to $50,000 (Sh5 million),” reads the agreement drawn by the US attorney  Geoffrey Berman and signed by the Akasha brothers and their lawyer. 

The Akashas will also be required to forfeit all  property and assets acquired with proceeds of their crime.

“The defendant hereby admits the forfeiture allegation with respect to counts one, two, three and four of the information and agrees to forfeit to the United States all property constituting or derived from any proceeds the defendant obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the offences described  as well any and all property used or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of the offences.”

Supervised release

The Akashas agreed not to appeal any term of supervised release that is less or equal to the statutory maximum.

By entering guilty plea, the agreement provides that the defendant waives any and all right to withdraw his plea or attack his conviction, either on direct appeal or collaterally on grounds that the government has failed to produce any discovery material.

The agreement, however, states that in consideration of the defendant’s plea to the offences, they will not be further prosecuted criminally, except for tax violations.

“The defendant acknowledges that he has accepted this agreement and decided to plead guilty because he is in fact guilty,” read the agreement. 

In the agreement, each count the brothers faced determine the way forward.

The Akasha brothers alongside Pakistani national Gulam Hussein and Indian national Vijaygiri Goswami were extradited to the US in January 2017 after being arrested in Mombasa. Their plea could bring to a close the case which has been running for several years now.

It was, however, not immediately clear whether the two will be sentenced and neither were any timelines issued.

At the Mombasa Law Courts, three judges and two magistrates presided over the Akasha’s case that lasted for four years before they were handed over to the US extradition proceedings at the lower court.

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