Changaa seller: I bribed police for 10 years

Kagendo Mutua at the Mombasa Court where she pleaded guilty to charges of selling illicit brew in contravention with the law. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]
An elderly woman charged with selling illicit brew told a Mombasa court that she escaped arrest for a decade because she bribed police officers every week. 

Kagendo Mutua (pictured) boldly admitted that she paid the police Sh200 'protection fee' every Sunday for the 10 years she sold changaa (illicit brew) at Jamvi la Wageni in Likoni.

Mutua told Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni that she was eventually arrested after she failed to pay the fee.

She said that four police officers usually went to her place on Sundays, led a by an officer she identified as Peter Mutuku, to collect the money.

“I don’t have any other source of income and business. I sell the brew to pay school fees for my children. But I will quit the business,” she told Mr Kagoni.

Mutua was found selling eight litres of changaa on May 14, at Jamvi la Wageni in Likoni.“So you have no other business to run and you have no intention to quit the business anytime soon because you have been tipping police?” inquired Kagoni.

The magistrate released Mutua and warned her against selling the brew.

“I have seen that you sell liquor as a business. The court is concerned that those who are put in place to stop such businesses are the same ones benefiting directly from the accused. You are discharged, but do not continue with such activities,” ruled Kagoni.

Following Mutua’s allegations, Kagoni ordered Mombasa Police Commander Johnston Ipara to institute investigations against the police officers in Likoni who were accused of taking bribes from the woman.

“Let the proceedings be forwarded to Police Commander today by end of business so that he can institute investigations on the police at Likoni, especially Sergeant Peter Mutuku, who is alleged to have received bribes from liquor sellers,” he said.

The magistrate also released a man who denied that he was an illicit brew seller. “The brew before court is not mine, it belongs to my grandmother who sells Changaa. I had come from upcountry when police stormed her house and took me away, leaving her behind,” said Wilbert Mwakoma.

Mwakoma was arrested on Sunday night at Chaani area in Changamwe with four litres of the illicit brew.

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