Senior police boss quizzed over role in Sudi arrest saga

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Uasin Gishu County police boss Johnston Ipara. Photo/PD/File,

A senior police officer was yesterday questioned over his role in the arrest saga of Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, as the legislator appeared in court and denied incitement charges.

Uasin Gishu County police boss Johnston Ipara was summoned to explain alleged complacency and the manner he handled Sudi’s arrest at the weekend. 

Ipara was summoned to Vigilance House by Deputy Inspector General Edward Mbugua on Sunday night even as another team of detectives, was busy tracking down Chief Inspector Amos Ekiru who is attached to the Presidential Escort Unit, for allegedly aiding Sudi’s escape.

Among the issues Ipara was expected to clarify was why the MP, who was being sought by police was allowed to  address hundreds of his supporters in Eldoret town on Friday, where he declared he would not apologise over his remarks that have been termed inflammatory against the Kenyatta family.

Deliberately failed

Sudi had arrived in town in a convoy of several cars and boda boda riders.

“The county police commander has been asked to report to the Police headquarters in relation to an incident on Friday where the controversial MP addressed his supporters in Eldoret town,” a senior officer who sought anonymity confirmed.

Sources said Ipara left Eldoret at 4am yesterday and was expected at Police headquarters by 7am for grilling.

“We learned that he was travelling to Nairobi when on Sunday night at around 9pm, he was frantically looking for a driver to take him to Nairobi,” an officer at the station said.  

Ipara was grilled over allegations that he deliberately failed to arrest Sudi despite the fact that two lorries full of General Service Unit (GSU) officers had been deployed in Eldoret town ahead of the MP’s arrival.

The police boss reportedly promised to arrest the MP after the rally and tasked his Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) counterpart to track his movement.

“We exercised restraint to avoid inconveniencing businesses in the town and possible destruction of property,” Ipara had defended himself on Sunday.

Reports indicate that when asked by Sudi whether he was being sought, both Ipara and the county Intelligence boss denied it, instead saying the MP was being sought by the sub-county DCI chief.

As the county police boss, Ipara was directly in charge of the operation to arrest the Sudi and in the police standing orders, would be held responsible for any hitches in the exercise as opposed to his juniors.

A source said a message was sent from Sudi’s phone to one of the senior officers stating that he (MP) felt betrayed. Ipara and Sudi are known to each other, according to officers in Eldoret.

Preliminary reports indicated that Presidential Escort Officers including the missing chief inspector had escorted Deputy President William Ruto to his residence, where they handed him over to the GSU officers guarding his Sugoi residence.

Chief Inspector Ekiru is said to have taken his two juniors — Constables Isaack Dida and Simon Sieng — to his residence next to Sudi’s home where they were to spend the night.

During that time, Dida was armed with  a Jericho pistol loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition while Siengo was armed with a Ceska pistol and 30 rounds of ammunition, according to Police headquarters.

Ekiru is said to have informed Sudi that he was not being sought by police, prompting the MP to invite them over to his residence for a meal.

Shortly thereafter, a combined team of officers started taking positions outside Sudi’s residence.

Ekiru, however, managed to sneak from the home together with Sudi, leaving behind the MP’s bodyguard and the two constables. Ekiru immediately switched off his phone, according to sources.

Detectives were told to track the mobile phones of Sudi and Ekiru. The signals indicated that Sudi’s phone was at his residence but Ekiru’s could not be traced.

Escape mission

“A team of detectives has been tasked with tracking down the Chief Inspector attached to the Presidential Escort who went underground during the second attempt to arrest Sudi,” a senior officer told People Daily. It was only after the MP had disappeared that police were mobilised to arrest him.

By yesterday, it was not yet clear what the two constables would be charged with as preliminary investigations had not revealed they were privy to, and actually participated in the escape mission. But Ipara is not new to controversy.

Shortly after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i declared war against drug traffickers at the Coast in 2018, police in Mombasa made a rare raid at Mombasa tycoon Ali Punjani’s palatial home in Nyali in an operation that left many unanswered questions.

During the raid, Punjani’s highly secretive life of opulence was exposed to the world for the first time as police invited the media to cover “the war on drugs”.

Ipara, who was the Mombasa County Commander, oversaw the operation that would later badly expose the rot among security chiefs in the region prompting instant transfers.

 “Perusal of some of the documents obtained from Punjani’s private office exposed the officers and left them with egg on their face.

Money transactions found in some of the files obtained in the raid showed two top security chiefs were recipients,” said the source.

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