Police raise alarm as former convicts go back to crime revert to

Monday, May 10th, 2021 00:00 |
Some inmates at Kamiti Maximum Prison. Photo/PD/FILE

The main suspect in the murder of National Land Commission (NLC) director of Communication Jennifer Wambua, and one of the people charged last week with defrauding a foreigner of Sh19 million, are repeat offenders, it has emerged.

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), following relapse into criminal activity, crimes by former inmates account for a substantial number of the current and future crimes, posing a major policing challenge.

Committing a crime more than once, commonly referred to as recidivism, has become normal even after the suspects in question have been arrested and even jailed.

On Friday, the DCI revealed that David Mwangi Njenga had been linked to the rape and subsequent murder of Ms Wambua. He had been arrested after two suspects earlier arrested positively identified him.

Sentence set aside

According to the DCI, Njenga had in 1996 been charged with rape and robbery with violence and sentenced to death. He ,however, appealed the sentence and judges Jessie Lesiit and Asike Makhandia on November 17, 2005, allowed his appeal and set aside the sentence.

The DCI on Saturday said forensic results positively identified the suspect as the person who may have killed Wambua in Ngong.

Wambua, 46, went missing on March 12 before her body was later found in Ngong, Kajiado County.

“The detectives through criminal intelligence first forensically placed the suspect at the scene of crime.

They managed to establish eyewitnesses who saw the suspect with the deceased the last time she was seen alive on March 12,” the DCI said.

The detectives said the deceased’s body had been found half naked, and it was suspected that she had been sexually assaulted, before being murdered in cold blood.

“A report issued by the government pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor who conducted the autopsy on the deceased’s body, indeed confirmed that there was sexual contact,” the DCI added.

The detectives established that Njenga, who is expected to be charged in court today, preyed on the deceased as she prayed before sexually assaulting her and strangling her to death.

“The intelligence detectives profiled the suspect and established that he was a jailbird.

We confirmed the suspect had committed similar offences using the same modus operandi of committing robbery and, thereafter, repeatedly, sexually abusing the victims by raping and killing them,” the DCI said

Several occasions

In another case on Wednesday last week , DCI detectives arrested Seth Steve Okuthe and a Nigerian Gideon Nuka for defrauding an Italian preacher-cum-businessman over Sh19.5 million.

“The suspects, whom we have arrested on several occasions on fraud charges, were arrested after they failed to deliver a shipment of gold to Dubai as earlier agreed,” the DCI said.

The arrest of Okuthe comes a few months after he was late last year arrested for defrauding a Nigerian national of Sh21 million in a fake gold scam.

On April 11, for example, detectives shot dead three suspects and recovered an AK47 rifle.

One of the slain suspects hadbeen released from a Kisumu prison on July 30, 2020 after serving a 14-year sentence. He had been convicted for robbery with violence.

The Eldoret DCI are also holding another robbery suspect, Paul Muthui, who had in 2013 been convicted for a robbery with violence charge. He is expected to be arraigned this week. 

An analysis of the crime also shows that most rogue officers were involved in crime even after dismissal, interdiction or being charged in court.

This has partly been attributed to the fact that the National Police Service (NPS) has no capacity to monitor such rogue officers after dismissal.

Rogue officers 

A number of officers who have either been dismissed or interdicted, or with cases pending before courts have been arrested after they were found to be involved in crime.

In one of the cases pending before court, two police officers who were arrested following a botched robbery were found to be having another case of robbery and kidnapping before Kibera law courts.

The officers, a Kenya Defence Forces soldier and two other suspects were arrested in a botched-up Sh5 million ransom demand after kidnapping a boy in Langata.

Recidivism has been attributed to greed, corruption leading to acquittals, lack of adequate rehabilitation and reintegration services, among others.

Latest reports indicate that the Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) is unable to fully undertake rehabilitation of prisoners due to shortage of funds for vocational training and skills development in various fields. As a result, prisoners risk getting caught up in a vicious cycle of reoffending, reconviction and social rejection.

According to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela rules), the provision of meaningful rehabilitation programmes is crucial in reducing recidivism and to improve public safety.

The rules also emphasize that education, vocational training, work, treatment and other forms of assistance, should be offered by prison administrations to support social reintegration of prisoners.

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