Sanjivan Ruprah

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One of Africa's most notorious arms dealers, a man who has been banned from entering Britain and been described by the government as "odious" for his alleged role in illegally supplying weapons to rebel forces in Sierra Leone, has been arrested in Belgium.
Sanjivan Ruprah, a Kenyan national of Indian extraction, was charged in Brussels with criminal association and travelling on a false British passport; other more serious charges are expected to follow.
Mr Ruprah was named by the UN two years ago as one of four men who sold arms to the now defunct Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone in clear breach of international sanctions, fuelling a bloody decade-long civil war against the government that claimed at least 50,000 lives.[1]

Branch Energy

Before his involvement in Liberia, Sanjivan Ruprah had mining interests in Kenya, and was associated with Branch Energy (Kenya). Branch Energy owned diamond mining rights in Sierra Leone, and introduced the private military company, Executive Outcomes to the government there in 1995. Ruprah is also known as an arms broker. He has worked in South Africa with Roelf van Heerden, a former colleague from Executive Outcomes, and together they have done business in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. Ruprah was once in charge of an airline in Kenya, Simba Airlines, until investigations into financial irregularities forced the company’s closure.[2]

Liberia

In November 1999, a Kenyan national named Sanjivan Ruprah was authorized by the Liberian Minister of Transport to act as the ‘Global Civil Aviation agent worldwide’ for the Liberian Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority, and to ‘investigate and regularize the ... Liberian Civil Aviation register’. During its visit to Liberia the Panel asked the Transport Ministry, the Ministry of Justice and police authorities about Ruprah and his work, but was told that he was not known to them. Ruprah is, in fact, a well-known weapons dealer. He travels using a Liberian diplomatic passport in the name of Samir M. Nasr, and carries additional authorization from the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry.[3]
This plane was used in July and August 2000 for arms deliveries from Europe to Liberia. This aircraft and an Antonov made four deliveries to Liberia, three times in July and once in August 2000. The cargo included attack-capable helicopters, spare rotors, anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems, missiles, armoured vehicles, machine guns and almost a million rounds of ammunition. The helicopters were Mi-2 and Mi-17 types. A few months earlier, two Alouette-3 helicopters had been flown in by a Libyan government plane, but these helicopters were replaced by the newly arrived ones and are thought to be in Liberia no longer. (A note on European sources of weaponry is included in paragraph 247, below.) These deliveries, all made after the collapse of the Lomé Peace Agreement, are especially worrisome.
234. The transactions were set up by Victor Bout in the United Arab Emirates, and by Gus van Kouwenhoven, mentioned in paragraph 217, above. The plane used for the helicopter shipment was the Ilyushin 76, TL-ACU. Bout worked with a freight forwarder in Abidjan. A non-existent company ‘Abidjan Freight’ was set up as a front by Sanjivan Ruprah, to conceal the exact routing and final destination of the plane. The official routing was ‘Entebbe-Robertsfield-Abidjan’ but the cargo was unloaded in Robertsfield. The weapons were sourced from Central Europe and Central Asia.[4]

Affiliations

Branch Energy (Kenya)

Connections

Victor Bout

References

  1. Key African arms dealer arrested, Andrew Osborn, The Guardian, 16 February 2002.
  2. Report of the Panel of Experts appointed pursuant to Security Council resolution 1306 (2000), paragraph 19, in relation to Sierra Leone, December 2000, pp37-38, via globalsecurity.org
  3. Report of the Panel of Experts appointed pursuant to Security Council resolution 1306 (2000), paragraph 19, in relation to Sierra Leone, December 2000, p10, via globalsecurity.org
  4. Report of the Panel of Experts appointed pursuant to Security Council resolution 1306 (2000), paragraph 19, in relation to Sierra Leone, December 2000, pp38-39, via globalsecurity.org