16 police officers arrested for murder, robbery in two days

Thursday, August 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Six officers from left James Mwaniki, Lilian Chemuna, Martin Wanyama, Nicholas Cheruiyot, Consolata Kariuki and Benson Mbuthia at Milimani Law Courts. They have been linked to the murder of the Embu brothers. Photo/CHARLES MATHAI

At least 16 police officers have been arrested in the last two days for offences of murder and robbery with violence, lifting the lid on massive extortion and extra-judicial killings within the service.

A report from the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) released yesterday further painted a pretty grim picture of the extent of the rot.

Between January and June, the authority received 21 cases of deaths in custody and 55 deaths from police action.

Another 15 cases involved shooting causing injuries, 12 enforced disappearances and two cases of unlawful discharge of firearms.

Yesterday, Inspector Daniel Musau and Corporal Robert Kibororo of Muthaiga Police Station were arrested for the murder of Vitalis Ochilo alias Madaraka at Mradi, Mathare North on May 3, 2020.

The officers, who were enforcing curfew orders, arrested the deceased at around 7pm and assaulted him.

Ipoa investigated the case and forwarded the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions who later directed that they be charged with murder.

Five other officers based in Ruiru were also arrested yesterday on allegations of robbing a resident on August 12.

Constables Thomas Okuku, Lawrence Mbau, James Mulei, Dan Keya and another officer are said to have forced a man to reveal his M-Pesa PIN and forcefully transferred money from his account.

The man had been arrested for violating curfew orders shortly past 10pm.

Certain number

“A follow up was done whereby an application was made in court for data. Upon scrutiny, the officers were identified and arrested,” Kiambu County Police Commander Ali Nuno said.

They took his phone and forced him to reveal his M-Pesa PIN before they transferred Sh1,030 to a certain number registered under the name of Martin Kamau.

“They then deleted the M-Pesa message so that the man could not send it to 456 to reverse the transaction,” police said.

Victim narrated his ordeal on Facebook and even appealed to Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to intervene.

“After letting me go, I went back to my office, tried to call Safaricom but they could not reverse the money as apparently, the money had been spent by the receiver,” he narrated. 

“Taking control of my phone and demanding the PIN is a violation of my privacy, my data and confidentiality,” he added.

The M-Pesa shop owner, Muthoni Muteria, and his operator, Bosco Ereng, were also arrested for questioning.

In another case at Doldol Police Station, an officer shot dead his colleague inside his house before escaping with his loaded AK47 rifle. The deceased has been identified as Constable Leonard Ojwang.

On Tuesday evening, another officer attached to Kandara police was arrested for robbing a member of public of Sh1,100 at Kabati.

The complainant, a rider, said the officer who was later identified as Constable Gabriel Muriuki had initially demanded Sh2,000 from him before robbing him of the cash. 

On Tuesday, six police officers attached to Manyatta police station were arraigned for killing two brothers, Benson Ndwiga, 22 and Emmanuel Mutura 19, in Embu on August 1. Milimani Court granted detectives 14 days to detain the officers as they conclude investigations. 

The officers were identified as Corporal Consolota Njeri, Corporal Benson Mbuthia, Constables Lilian Cherono, Martin Wanyama, Nicholas Sang and Constable James Mwaniki, who was driving the police vehicle that fateful night.

Ipoa saays between January and June this year, the authority received 105 cases on allegations of deaths and serious injuries in the hands of police.

A total of 1,324 cases were reported to Ipoa over that period involving arbitrary arrests, negligence of duty, abuse of office, physical assault, refusal to refund cash bail, and malicious prosecution among other complaints.

Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya yesterday urged detectives to also ensure officers, who are complicit for witnessing and protecting actual assault and torture of suspects are identified.

 “They should also ensure command responsibility for the killing and dumping of bodies and failure to report deaths in police action as required by Ipoa and Police Acts,” they said.

They also reiterated the need for immediate placement of all witnesses under the Witness Protection Programme for their own safety and security.

Serious injuries

Investigations reveal that rogue officers are now forcing members of the public to withdraw cash from specified M-Pesa agents and businessmen whose agent and till numbers are used.

“After forcing you to withdraw money, they delete the message,” a resident of Buruburu told People Daily.

A case under investigation is when officers based at Parklands assaulted a man in front of his wife at City Park and forced him to withdraw Sh2,000 from an M-Pesa agent.

“Investigations revealed that the money was withdrawn from an M-Pesa point near Parklands Police Station,” a senior detective said.

The officer said preliminary investigations had shown that some rogue officers were conducting arbitrary arrests just to extort from members of the public.

“I was forcefully removed from my car by officers from Buruburu Police Station.

One of them, a female officer, took my phone and sent Sh4,000 to a certain number and they deleted the message,” said a complainant.

Several petrol station attendants have also been identified as those colluding with the rogue officers. 

A clerk who was arrested on Waiyaki Way was taken to a petrol station and told to buy fuel through the Till number to earn his freedom.

“I ‘bought’ fuel for Sh2,000 but the attendant did not fuel the car. Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.

A similar case was reported in Donholm where officers arrested a man for flouting curfew regulations.

They took him to a petrol station near Greenspan Mall and ordered him to pay for fuel. He was then released.

“They do it unashamedly. Even the brutality meted on those arrested is baffling. Senior officers should come to our aid,” the resident said.

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