Tuk-tuk operator says he was shot for declining to bribe officers

John Ongoto is attended to at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital. The Tuk-tuk operator says he was shot by an Administration Police officers after he declined to give him and his colleagues a bribe. Police have denied the claims. [Mercy Kahenda, Standard]
Police in Nakuru have attracted the spotlight after allegedly attacking a Tuk-tuk operator for failing to pay a bribe.

John Ongoto, 26, was shot by an Administration Police officer, who was with colleagues, and is now recuperating at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital.

The incident occurred on November 17. The officers suspected to have been involved are attached to Rhonda Police Station.

Speaking to The Standard from his hospital bed yesterday, the father of two said he was ferrying passengers to Weavers area at around 11pm when he encountered the officers.

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He said he was stopped by six officers riding on two motorcycles.

He said the officers did a hurried search of the Tuk-tuk; checking the validity of his driving license, National Transport Authority  stickers and insurance cover.

He said despite the documents they were checking being up to date, the officers still asked him for a bribe.

“The officers said they wanted "chai". I decided to drive away and unfortunately knocked one of the motorcycles that tried to block me. That is when they shot at me through the windscreen,” Mr Ongoto said.

He said he was shot on the arm and bled profusely.

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The officers, he said, panicked when they saw him bleed, tore the shirt of one of the passengers and used it to bandage the wound.

They then called for a police vehicle from their station, which later took Ongoto to hospital.

Drug charges

Ongoto says his passengers were taken to the station where the police tried to threaten them with trumped-up drug charges.

He claims to have so far incurred a Sh70,000 bill at the hospital despite receiving little care.

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Ongoto wants the officers compelled to settle the bill and face criminal charges.

“Officers keep checking on me. I do not know their intention, but all I want is to see justice,” he said.

Lilian Chebet, Ongoto's wife, said the family learnt of the incident on November 18 trough a relative.

Chebet said the family reported the matter at Rhonda Police Station. The police, she said, took responsibility and even promised to settle the bill, but later changed mind and denied any wrongdoing.

An intern clinician at the hospital said Ongoto was being taken care of and was awaiting an operation.

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Nakuru Deputy OCPD Daniel Kitavi dismissed claims that the officers had demanded bribes. He said they were on regular patrol and only wanted to search the Tuk-tuk.

According to Kitavi, there were four officers at the scene and they stopped Ongoto, who defied their orders.

Kitavi said the officers found four pangas and seven rolls of bhang.

He said three people, who were on board, had been arraigned, facing drug and weapon-possession charges. “Ongoto is a suspect. That is why he is being guarded. He shall be charged,” said Kitavi.

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Nakuru CountyJohn OngotoRift Valley Provincial General HospitalRhonda Police Station