Foreigners convicted of fraud-related crimes are being offered ‘celebrity justice’ at Kenya’s Industrial Area Remand prison.
Sources privy to the goings-on at the facility has told The Informer that the foreign fraudsters mainly Chinese, Koreans, Nigerians, Cameroonians and Congolese are being accorded favourable care compared to their Kenyan counterparts – with a host fancying to have their cases heard while in remand, despite court cash bails.
The lot, according to the source, said that the VIP treatment include exceptional meals and snacks prepared specifically for them or ordered from outside, new beddings, telephone facilities as well as access to showers and unlimited medical prescriptions in exchange for cash.
Most of the foreign remandees who were 89 by Wednesday morning are facing charges related to operating illicit businesses, involvement in money laundering and illegal immigration among others.
When contacted however, the Kenya Prison Service which operates under supervision of the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination has denied any knowledge of the claims.
“We do not allow that in this facility, we don’t do that here. In any case I am not even aware of such cases. There is nothing extra we are offering them,” said Samuel Ruto, the Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, who said the tip-off is malicious and flawed.
“Hiyo ni porojo (malice). We do not even do that, who does that? We respect the law,” he said.
The Industrial Area Remand Prison is one of the largest penal facility in Nairobi and regularly hosts remandees incarcerated for capital offenses like murder charges, fraud and illegal immigrants among other crimes.
But some facility’s officials have used it as a money-making administrative center, something Ruto refused to rule out, saying the practice could either be taking place ‘quietly’ or had been happening before.
“Save for a few things that could be happening under the table, which really cannot be quantify such claims…at least for now, if it used to happen before I came, I do not know, I have been here for ten months now,” he said.
The nicer-jail-stay-for-pay arrangement has allowed the moneyed and modestly affluent individuals to evade prison’s brutality and squalor and other unpleasant conditions typical in public remand or jail systems.
It also brings to a sharp focus the inequalities of a two-track system of justice in this country, in which the wealthy enjoy privileges and perks behind bars while the poor are resigned to less comfortable and more treacherous environments of confinement.