Security officers face 17 abduction charges

Dreaded Special Service Unit members at Kahawa Law Courts where they faced 17 counts of abducting, torturing and causing the forced disappearance of three people, Mohammed Zaid Sami Kidwai, Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan and their taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania Mwange on July 22, 2023, as members of the disbanded Squad. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The Kahawa Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Gideon Kiage has denied 13 officers from the disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU) of the from Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and an officer Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and National Intelligence Service (NIS) bail.

The officers pled not guilty after they were charged with the enforced disappearance of two Indian nationals and a Kenyan driver.

After a year if investigations, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Renson Ingonga approved 17 charges on the enforced disappearance of Mohamed Zaid Kidwai, Zulfiqar Khan and driver Nicodemus Mwania in July last year.

Kiage said that he would rule on their application on November 3, ordering that they be detained at the Kiambu GK Prison in different cells.

In the meantime, the DPP has been tasked to prepare a pre-bail report before the ruling. The case will be mentioned on October 19.

Those charged are Chief Inspector Peter Muthee, Inspector James Kibosek, Corporal Joseph Kamau, Corporal David Chepchieng, Corporal Joseph Mwenda, Corporal John Mwangi, and Corporal Hillary Limo.

Others include Constable Stephen Luseno, Simon Muhuga, Paul Njogu, Elikana Njeru, Boniface Otieno, Fredrick Thuku, John Wanjiku (NIS) and Michael Kiplangat (KWS).

Muthee, Kibosek, Kamau, Chepcheing, Luseno, Muhuga and Wanjiku were charged with 13 counts, including abduction with intent of murder.

It is alleged the nine officers serving in SSU intercepted a vehicle that Mwania was driving and bundled the three occupants into another vehicle.

Further, they allegedly held Kidwai, Khan and Mwania at Old Nairobi Area Police Headquarters SSU offices in Upper Hill before the trio disappeared.

The other four counts involved the 17.

According to the State, the officers jointly caused the disappearance of the three at the Aberdares National Park in Nyeri County.

They were also accused of subjecting the three to inhumane and degrading treatment.

Muthee faced a separate count of forgery. It was claimed he forged a vehicle work ticket serial number Q261311 for July last year.

The prosecution led by Senior Assistant DPP Michael Sang and James Machira, however, told the court that the State had decided to release Francis Mwendo Ndonye unconditionally after investigations vindicated him.

The 15 denied all the charges.

Lawyer Wandugi Kirathe, for Kiplangat, told the court that the case involved civil servants.

“They were released on free bond and had been adhering to the terms. The charges are defective. I wish to indicate all the charges preferred in any court in this country are bailable by dint of Articles 49 and 50 of the Constitution. Hence, all the charges in these charge sheets are bailable unless there are compelling reasons. The honours are on the prosecution,” Kirathe said. 

According to Wandugi, the charges were mere allegations, hence his client was presumed innocent until the State proved him guilty.