Named in Parliament in 2010 and subsequently named at the trial hearing of the Akasha brothers in the United States, Ali Punjani is no stranger to links in the drugs underworld.
Networked, deep pocketed in net worth and influential at the Coast, that is the reclusive business tycoon Ali Punjani now wanted for narcotics.
Reportedly with 19 police officers guarding his Nyali home, the business tycoon demonstrated his deep rooted networks with the country’s influential high and mighty.
In 2009 at a funds drive to help residents of Faza Island in Lamu after a fire engulfed their homes, Punjani made a personal contribution of Ksh.6 million in the presence of then President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister then Raila Odinga.
In 2010, the then Internal Security Minister George Saitoti named Punjani among suspected drug lords in the country.
The list contained in a dossier prepared by the United States embassy during US Ambassador Michael Rannebergers tenure was handed to the EACC then Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission under the leadership of PLO Lumumba.
Punjani is also a well networked individual within government circles.
In 2017, the rivalry between two alleged biggest drug lord families burst into open on the new year’s eve after Punjani and the Akasha brothers were involved in a club fight in Mombasa where guns were drawn and shots fired.
The two families were fighting over control of the Coastal region to take charge of the drugs underworld.
The aftermath, was five people were injured with Ail Punjani’s aide seriously injured and stayed in a comma for four good days with a serious head injury.
Both the Akasha’s and Punjani were charged with fighting in public and were released on a Ksh.50,000 cash bail. The case is still active.
To amplify the bad blood between the two families, in the trial of the Akasha brothers in the US where they are facing drug trafficking charges, Punjani was named as a fierce rival drug lord of the Akasha Empire.
But to underpin Punjani’s deep connection within government, reportedly before the raid on his residence on Monday, a contingent of 19 armed security officers guarding his Nyali home were withdrawn to pave way for the raid.
Begging the question, a suspected drug lord once named in parliament and in a court of law in the United States commanding a near whole police station guarding his home, was the government aware of such a heavy deployment of officers to guard one person and his suspected drug empire at the expense of the already limping police force?