A female soldier who was detained for three months, allegedly without the knowledge of her family, has been accused of defrauding desperate job seekers.
A senior military officer told Justice Joel Ngugi of the Nakuru High Court that Mercy Mweru Kurii was court-martialed following complaints by civilians.
Corporal Kurii, who has since been dismissed from the service, was accused of obtaining Sh1.86 million through false pretencess.
Kurii’s husband, Elijah Kibet Kemboi, had gone to court to have the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) compelled to produce his wife after a long search.
In a sworn affidavit, Kenya Military Academy Commanding Officer Maurice Busera told Justice Ngugi that Kurii obtained money from job seekers by pretending that she would secure them employment.
“On January 6, complaints were received from members of public that Mercy Kurii, who was acting in connivance with other civilians, had obtained money by false pretences that she was in a position to recruit their relatives in the Kenya Defence Forces,” read the affidavit.
The affidavit further confirmed that the soldier was arrested by military police and placed in custody on January 9.
“It is not true that the rights of the service member was infringed upon by the respondent as alleged. On March 13, Kurii appeared before her commanding officer for summary discipline proceedings, which was within the Constitution and the provisions of the Kenya Defence Forces Act.”
The affidavit indicated that Kurii was considered a flight risk, thus forcing the military to detain her until they could complete investigations.
Upon conclusion of the probe, Lt Col Busera said, Kurii was found guilty of obtaining money by false pretences. She was subsequently dismissed after consultations with the Ministry of Defence.
“I forwarded the outcome of the summary discipline proceeding to service headquarters for confirmation and on March 29, I received a confirmation of dismissal of the service number from the Kenya Defence Forces dated March 28,” the officer said.
The military said they had given Mr Kemboi and his daughter access to Kurii at the military academy in two occasions during her detention.
The High Court was given documents indicating that Kurii’s sister and brother were also allowed to visit her.
The military also denied being served on March 6.
“Even if the said letter was served to the commanding officer, which we aver that it was not, the same would not have been sufficient to stop legitimate and legal disciplinary process against Mercy Mweru Kurii, where civilians were conned approximately Sh1,860,000 and issued with fake recruitment letters,” read the affidavit.