A timber merchant has accused three anti-graft officials of robbing him inside a bank in Kapsabet town.
Dominic Barchigei, 49, said he was accosted by three people, who identified themselves as Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials, while queuing in a banking hall three months ago.
“The three men who identified themselves as EACC officers accosted me as I lined up waiting to deposit my money. They led me to an office within the bank and searched all my pockets and took all my money totalling Sh449,000,” he told The Standard.
The officers, who accused him of dealing in “suspect property”, then had him locked up in a police cell for a day.
EACC officials reported Barchigei at Nandi Central Police Station in Kapsabet under OB 45/14/11/2018. According to Barchigei, he was released from police custody without any charges.
In his report to the police, Barchigei claimed the three detectives recorded they only confiscated Sh99,150 from him. He said the officers could have pocketed the difference — Sh349,850.
The businessman recorded a statement at Nandi Central Police Station (OB 43/15/11/2018) in which he accuses the EACC officers of robbing him.
His claims are now the subject of investigation at the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
In his statement, Barchigei detailed how he acquired the confiscated amount.
The businessman noted he was paid the money after he supplied timber to a yard in Nyamasaria in Kisumu County.
He said he received payments in two installments of Sh100,000 and Sh350,000 on the day of his arrest.
“I have written multiple statements to the DCI following my police report over the events surrounding my arrest and loss of my money. I have requested that the EACC take me to court or provide me with a list of complainants against me and my money,” he said.
An officer at the DCI office who did not want to be named said the three EACC officers had been summoned to record statements but were yet to do so.
“The matter is under investigation. The EACC officials have received summons to record statements at the Kapsabet DCI,” said a DCI officer.
Barchigei claimed he was summoned to the EACC Eldoret offices on November 28 last year where “the officers attempted to coerce him to sign documents he did not understand” and asked him to “accept that they confiscated Sh99,150 from him instead of Sh449,000”.
“They said I was lying (about the Sh449,000) and threatened to impose a fine of Sh1 million on me,” he said.
Three months since his arrest, Barchigei is yet to be taken to court.
“I have demanded and begged them to take me to court so that the truth can come out but to no avail. I have lost my money,” he lamented.
Nandi County Criminal Investigation Officer Sammy Mukeku said they were investigating Barchigei’s claims.
“The case under investigation is a counterclaim from Mr Barchigei. I cannot however divulge more details because the matter is still under active investigation,” said Mukeku.
EACC Eldoret regional boss Jackson Mue did not pick calls when contacted by The Standard over the case and when the reporter visited EACC’s Eldoret regional office, the officers declined to comment.