The court has summoned the Regional and County Criminal Investigations officers to explain the whereabouts of a lorry that went missing at Kakamega Police Station.
Kakamega County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) and the Western Region Criminal Investigations Officer (RCIO) have been ordered to appear in court Tuesday for grilling after claims emerged that it may have been illegally auctioned.
This is after the owner, Bilha Namalwa filed a petition saying that her vehicle was impounded by the officers on claims of double registration a year ago yet no one has been charged with any criminal offence.
In a sworn affidavit, Ms Namalwa avers that the vehicle, registration number KAZ 702G which has been in police custody since June 2017 may have been sold during the public auction of unclaimed motorcycles.
“In the month of June 2017, County CID officers impounded, confiscated and took the said motor vehicle to Kakamega Police Station parking yard and booked it in the Occurrence Book (OB) but the material of the investigations were not disclosed,” she swears.
Namalwa, a nurse at Kakamega County General Hospital insists that upon inquiry of the detention, she was told the lorry was being investigated but the nature of the offence under investigations was not disclosed.
“I was told to surrender the ownership documents after I produced the original log book. I was then told to give the officers time to conduct and conclude investigations which I obliged. In December 2017, I requested to have the lorry back to no avail,” she continues.
To her surprise, on May 16 this year, she says she did not find the motor vehicle at its usual place of parking at the police station making her inquire of its whereabouts.
“While at the station, I found officials from Pave Auctioneers selling by way of auction of all those motor vehicles christened as unclaimed properties and I got apprehensive that my lorry may have been sold as unclaimed,” Namalwa swears.
She cites as unconstitutional and unjustified, the nature in which the Mitsubishi lorry was confiscated and police taking a full year to conduct investigations without anybody being charge for any offense.
In the petition which the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Inspector General of Police (IG) are respondents, the petitioner insists that she suspects that the actions amounts to acquisition by unlawful and unprocedural.
She prays that the vehicle which was impounded in good condition be returned to her to mitigate further loss.
“I have given the officers ample time to conduct their investigations yet I have not been charged with any offence. I strongly believe that they are abusing their office by continued detention of the lorry one year afterwards with a sole purpose of alienating it from me yet I am the registered owner,” she says.
Chief Magistrate Bildad Ochieng’ had ordered the CCIO to avail the lorry to the court on June 4 which he did not prompting the magistrate to order that he (CCIO) appears in person to respond to the application to release the lorry.
In a replying affidavit, Detective Geoffrey Mwera a CID officer investigating the incident said that the vehicle had a double registration with another vehicle in Mombasa with similar registration number.
Mwera further insists that the petitioner is not the absolute owner and registration documents in her names were illegal.
The matter will be heard on Tuesday.