14 March 2006

UN Drugs Agency Urges Kenya to Destroy Seized Cocaine

VIENNA, 14 March (UN Information Service) -- The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, urged the Kenyan Government on Tuesday to destroy a record consignment of more than a tonne of cocaine which was seized in December 2004.

"It is of the greatest concern that, more than one year later, the seized cocaine has not been destroyed," Mr Costa said in a letter to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.

He also expressed concern about press reports that some of the consignment may have been stolen and smuggled to Europe. "I am extremely disappointed and concerned about this," Mr Costa said

Noting that Kenya had been the first country to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which came into force in December 2005, he added: "I bring these very unfortunate allegations to your attention since corruption may have played a role and this taints the reputation of your country."

Mr Costa noted that UNODC had helped the Government of Kenya to draft regulations on the seizure, analysis and disposal of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

"I understand that the new regulations will be promulgated soon and that other initiatives are underway to help ensure that proper testing and destruction take place as soon as possible," the UNODC head  said.

He added that UNODC was also ready to provide technical advice if requested.

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For further information, please contact:

Richard Murphy
Chief, Advocacy Section
Telephone: +43 1 26060 5761
E-mail: richard.murphy@unodc.org