Three police officers who are among six suspects arrested in connection with the Sh 72 million theft have been charged with robbery with violence.
APC Chris Machogi, CPL Duncan Kaveshi Luvuga, APC Boniface Mutua, are charged alongside Vincent Owuor, Alex Mutuku and Francis Muriuki.
The sixth are also charged with malicious damage of 36 cassettes, and 11 purge bins all valued at Sh 1.2 million, the property of G4S.
They are alleged to have committed the offence armed with guns on 5th September 2019 at Nairobi West shopping center in Langata, Nairobi County.
They denied the charges before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi.
The prosecution led by counsel Jacinta Nyamosi opposed the release of the six bail on grounds that there are compelling reasons to support the same.
Nyamosi submitted that apart from the six, there are other suspects out there who are evading arrest.
She further told the court that the accused persons were arrested on different dates therefore investigations are not complete and the exhibits have not been found by police.
The court heard that the six were arrested away from their known fixed abode therefore are likely to be at flight risk.
According to the prosecution, this is a complex case that has led investigator to different parts of the country in search of exhibits and other ‘players’ in this grand theft.
Nyamosi submitted that DCIO Lang’ata police station has requested to have the suspects detained at his station so that they can complete investigations.
“Article 49h puts the burden on the prosecution to prove compelling reasons,” the state submitted.
However, the lawyer for the accuse persons Cliff Ombeta objected the prosecution’s request on grounds that they did not demonstrate to the court the compelling reasons to detain them.
Ombeta told the court that because the state failed to get the orders to detain his clients in a miscellaneous file that they bring this application.
“How is being arrested on different dates make it a compelling reason,” Ombeta stated.
He further stated that the issue of the Lang’ata DCIO wanting to hold them at the station is not in the affidavit.
“He should be appealing the said decision not sneak requests in another application,” said Ombeta.
According to the defense, the state has not said who the other alleged suspects are or where they are and therefore can not be a compelling reason not to garnt the accused persons bail.
He said the state was not genuine in their application since their affidavit contradicted the charge sheet on the arrest date.
The prosecution said the accused were arrested on different dates yet the charge sheet indicated 8th September as the date of arrest.
Ombeta submitted that investigations being complex is not the issue of the accused persons. It the issue of the police and they should know how to improve.
He also said he had complained about the issue of torture of his clients by the police who were supposed to table the medical report but have not.
“My clients are apprehensive of their safety when they go back to the station especially since they have reported reported the issue,” lawyer Ombeta said.
He asked the court to grant his clients bail since the reasons by prosecution are not compelling.
The court further heard police tortured his clients during arrest.
“Police even put plastic bags on the heads of the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th accused to suffocate them,” the lawyer submitted.
In his ruling, the Magistrate said that the affidavit by police is very brief.
The magistrate noted that does not indicate any accused person’s names.
“Compelling reasons stated have to be so forceful that the court will be satisfied to denied them bail,” the magistrate ruled.
The magistrate did not think the deponent of the affidavit intended to give this court compelling reasons. He said it was sworn just for the sake.
The court ruled that denying accused persons bail without compelling reasons is difficult.
“The application is denied. However I have noted that the offence is serious and involves a colossal amount of money,” the magistrate ruled.
He granted the six a bond of Sh 1 million and two sureties of a similar amount. The magistrate further ordered the accused persons to deposit their passports in court and be reporting to the DCIO Lang’ata police station for seven days.
The court further directed those tortured to file their case with Independent Police Oversight Authority.
“When a police officer says he has been tortured by police he knows what torture is. It starts as something small then escalate to a big issue,” the magistrate said.
The matter will be mentioned on 18th September for pre-trial and fixing of hearing dates.