Five cops charged with man’s murder

Thursday, November 4th, 2021 00:00 |
Independent Policing Oversight Authority chair Ann Makori at a past event. Photo/PD/FILE

Five police officers were yesterday arrested and charged with the murder of a man in Kochia, Homa Bay county in September 2017.

Police Inspector Silas Anyira and Constables Michael Ochango, Bernard Maritim, Steven Owino and Wycliffe Cheptoo were arraigned at Homa Bay law courts. The court also issued a warrant of arrest for the sixth officer Constable Edwin Moenga, who has since exited the police service. 

The arrest and subsequent arraignment brings to 12 the number of officers arrested and charged with murder and abduction in the last one week.

Investigations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) revealed that the officers on September 17, 2017 raided Sylvanus Oree Owinji home on suspicion of dealing in bhang.

IPOA says there was an altercation that led to serious injury of the victim who succumbed the following day.

“Owinji was pronounced dead the following day at Homa Bay Referral Hospital where he was transferred after the duty officer at Rangwe Police Station declined to place him in custody because of  the injuries he had suffered,” IPOA said yesterday.  

“During the arrest, the police officers used force and consequently Owinji sustained injuries which a pathologist determined to be the cause of death,” IPOA chairperson Ann Makori said.

Warrant of arrest 

IPOA investigators recorded statements from eye witnesses and submitted the findings to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

After an independent review of the investigation file, the DPP concurred with the IPOA and directed that the six officers be charged with murder. Yesterday, the court ruled that the officers be formally charged on November 16. The five officers part from Moenga, the court heard, are fit to stand trial.

  Last week, a Nairobi court also issued a warrant of arrest for four other police officers then based at Huruma police station who are to be charged with the offence of abducting in order to murder.

Among them was a Police Constable who disappeared after he was accused of killing another man in May 2016.

Constable Carlistus Ekidor Apalia was again implicated together with his three colleagues believed to have been behind the disappearance of Philip Otieno Ondiro, who was last seen on February 1, 2015.

Criminal culpability

According to IPOA Constables Apalia, Francis Gitonga, Samwel Mokaya Makori and Alex Munene are to be charged with the offence of abducting in order to murder.

The investigations revealed that four accused persons, armed with guns stormed a house in Kiamaiko within Huruma, Nairobi, pulled out Ondiro, bundled him into a waiting car and drove off. 

“The investigation established the incident amounted to criminal culpability and recommended the prosecution of officers suspected of involvement.  

The ODPP concurred with the Authority’s recommendations that four officers be charged with the offence of abducting in order to murder,” IPOA said on Thursday last week.

Under Section 258 of the Penal Code, any person who kidnaps or abducts any person in order that the person may be murdered, or may be so disposed of as to be put in danger of being murdered, is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

One of the accused police officers, Constable Apalia, together with his colleague, Constable David Lenkaldayo had been accused of killing Stephen Gichuru Mwihaki in Huruma Nairobi in May, 2015.

The two went underground and the matter was in May this year closed after the prosecution failed to arrest and charge them for four and a half years.

The deceased was hosted overnight by his brother and on the fateful day, his brother left at 5.30am and instructed him to drop off the house keys at a local slaughterhouse.

 During the delivery of the house keys at the slaughterhouse at around 8am, a commotion ensued and he was shot dead by the two Constables.

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