By Roselyne Obala
They also faced another count of being in possession of the stolen goods meant for export.
Appearing before Webuye Resident Magistrate Boaz Ombiwa, the accused, among them former Webuye mayor John Ngome, businessman Pramukh Patel and nine police officers, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The consignment was destined to East African Portland Cement (EAPC) Kampala, Uganda, from Athi-River.
The offence was allegedly committed along Edoret-Malaba highway, alongside River Nzoia in Webuye town, at night.
The incident happened after an accident occurred involving a truck belonging to EAPC and a lorry belonging to the Coca Cola company.
Before the suspects were arraigned in court, there was disagreement between the junior and seniors officers attached to Webuye station following an order to release Patel’s vehicle. The officers handling the case refused to heed to the directive, arguing that the vehicle was an exhibit.
The suspects appeared in court six hours later following the intervention of the Western Deputy Provincial Police Officer Thwere Okello.
Webuye OCPD David Muturi said the nine officers were arrested for collaboration and failing to stop the residents from stealing the cement.
He said the officers were deployed in the area to prevent looters only for the truck to be found empty hours later.