Kamiti Maximum Security Prison bosses held for five more days
Suspended Head of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison Commandant Charles Mutembei Gerrard, his deputy Joseph Longarianyang and four others will spend five more days in police cells.
Kahawa Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Boaz Ombewa ordered the six, who are facing charges of aiding three convicts to escape, to be detained at Gigiri Police Station until Monday, next week when he will make ruling on whether to allow the State request to continue holding them for another 30 days, to enable police complete investigations into the matter.
Mutembei, Longarianyang and four warders who were manning the CCTV camera at the facility namely Pamela Kiplimo, Peter Kamiju, Lilian Lunani and Nicholas Abongo were arrested on Wednesday and spent the night in police cells, as they awaited to be arraigned yesterday.
The magistrate further ordered the officer commanding Gigiri Police Station to facilitate Kiplimo and Lunani to breast feed their babies aged six and 10 months respectively.
The court also directed all the suspects to be allowed access to their lawyers and relatives during the five days they will be behind bars.
The six were arraigned yesterday but were not charged with any offence, after the prosecution made an application to have them held in custody as the investigations into the matter are not complete.
“That the respondents herein be detained in custody for 30 days at a police station within Nairobi County, to enable the police conclude investigations,” the prosecution stated.
In an affidavit filed in court by Chief Inspector Meschack Kagera attached to Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters Serious Crimes Unit, the prosecution sought the custodial orders saying they are investigating the six on allegations of aiding prisoners escape from lawful custody.
The court heard that the six suspects on the night of November 14, while being the in charge and warders at Kamiti Maximum Prison, aided three convicts namely Musharaf Abdalla Akhulungaaka Zarkal aka Alex aka Shukri, Mohamed Ali Abikar and Joseph Juma Odhiambo aka Yusuf escape from lawful custody.
The convicts, who were being held at condemned Block A at Kamiti Maximum Prison, were serving jail terms for terrorism related offences.
“That the first and second respondent being the in-charge failed to ensure that the building where the said convicts were held, are in good condition to prevent their escape,” Kagera informed the court.
He added:“ The four prison warders failed to notice the activities of the convicts who escaped from the lawful custody, despite the fact that the point of escape is properly covered by CCTV cameras.”
The officer informed the court that a multi-agency team of investigators from the Serious Crime Unit, Anti-terrorism Prevention Unit, Cyber Crime Forensic Experts and Crime Scene investigators are still conducting investigations, at the facility to establish the circumstances under which the three convicts were able to escape from the heavily guarded facility.
“Going by the evidence already collected and the delicate nature of the case, and considering that the convicts are persons who are a security threats, there is reasonable belief that the six suspects may destroy or interfere with the evidence that is intended to be used in the matter if not place in lawful custody for the period under investigations,” Kagera stated.
The prosecution informed court that the investigating team requires more time to interrogate the suspects, forensically analyse their communication, extract CCTV footage at the prison facility and further analyse the scene of crime.
But the six officers through lawyers Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta opposed the application to continue holding them saying it does not meet the constitutional threshold.
The lawyers urged court to release the six on reasonable bond terms as they are willing to abide by all the conditions set by the court.
Earlier, Omari also challenged the court’s jurisdiction noting that it was wrong for the suspects to be charged at Kahawa Law Court which handles terror related cases.
The lawyer claimed that the suspects were being charged with criminal negligence and not terror hence should be heard either at Milimani or Kiambu Law Courts.
“Aiding or facilitating the escape of an inmate is a felony, which is not a terror charge,” Omari argued.
“The fact that the escapees were terror convicts does not make this a terrorism matter.
They had been convicted and their case was closed. The accused’s alleged offence is a criminal matter that must be dealt with in a criminal court,” he added.
The magistrate, however, declined the defence’s request to transfer the cases to Milimani or Kiambu Law Court saying that Kahawa Law Court also has jurisdiction to handle the matter.