You will be fined between Ksh5 million to Ksh20 million for being in possession of narcotic drugs if the the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 sails through in Parliament.
The Bill set for discussion on the floor of the National Assembly on Thursday, March 11, proposes more punishment for drug handlers and dealers, with more sanctions for public servants found in drug dealing.
According to the Bill, law enforcement officers who contravene the Bill will be fined not less than Ksh20 million or imprisonment for not less than 20 years or both.
The Bill, fronted by the Administration and National Security Committee of the National Assembly chaired by Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange, also spells doom for public servants or those with aspiration, by barring anyone convicted of an offence under the Act from being appointed or elected to a public office.
The proposed penalty for trafficking of narcotic drugs and substances range from a minimum of not less than fines of Ksh10 million to Ksh50 million, is an increase of the current fines that range from Ksh500,000 to Ksh1 million or three times market value of the drugs.
The Bill is an amendment of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act No. 4 of 1994 which has not been amended for over 25 years.
The proposed penalty against owners or persons occupying or managing premises who permit the premises to be used to prepare opium, cannabis, heroine or other narcotic drug and psychotropic substances for smoking, manufacturing, sale or distribution is a fine of Ksh20 million or imprisonment term of not less than 10 years or both.
“This is an improvement from the current penalty of Kshs. 250,000 or imprisonment of not more than 10 years or both,” says National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) in their policy document.
The Bill also introduces the offence of conspiring with persons outside or inside Kenya to commit offences related to drug manufacturing, possession and trafficking in or outside Kenya. The penalty for conspiracy is a fine of not less than Ksh100 million and imprisonment for life.
The Bill has also introduced the offence of collecting, generating or transmitting information for use in committing offences under the law. Proposed penalty is a fine of not less than Ksh5 million or imprisonment of not less than five years or both.
The Bill proposes to mandate the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to request for information or evidence where a person including foreign governments or an entity alleges or have information that person has committed offences under the Narcotic, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act.
The Bill proposes that a police officer above the rank of Chief Inspector of Police may apply to the High Court for an order to intercept communication. Prior to applying for the order to intercept communication, the police officer has to seek a written consent from the Director of Public Prosecution.
Individuals who refuse to disclose information regarding drugs to the authorities will be fined Ksh1 million or imprisonment of not less than 5 years. Persons who have disclosed information in good faith will not to be subjected to civil or criminal proceedings.
In 2018, the Judiciary of Kenya recorded an increase by 44.1% of the cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No. 4 of 1994 from similar cases it handled in 2017. 44.1% of these cases entailed 2,268 individual crimes of possession of dangerous drugs that include cannabis sativa.