The multi-billion surveillance system installed by the Government along highways and buildings cannot store images and data for more than a month.
This was disclosed by the director of the Integrated Command and Control Centre Francis Gachina during a case in which a court has ordered the police to pay Sh10 million to families of two men who disappeared following their arrest.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had asked the court to order the police to produce unedited CCTV footage from cameras at Kawangware to ascertain that Brian Nzenze and Erickson Mambo were arrested by police officers Simon Mbau, Benson Simiyu Makhokha a.a ‘Kichwa’ and one Njoroge alias ‘Njoro’.
But the officer said that the system deletes images hence no information would be availed.
“The data from the cameras is sent through a transmission line to Government data centre in real time. The data is stored for 30 days from the date of recording. After 30 days the system deletes the information because of storage capacity,” Mr Gachina said.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet was ordered by High Court judge Edward Muriithi to pay Mr Nzenze and Mr Mambo’s families Sh10 million as compensation.
The motorbike rider and his passenger went missing in the hands of administration police officers stationed at Kawangware on June 1, 2016.
Mr Boinett was also ordered to start investigations against the three officers, and everyone who had been implicated in the case with a view of pressing charges against those who would be found culpable.
“(Boinett) must be directed to carry an in-depth investigation on the disappearance of the second and third petitioners following the arrest by the AP officers and thereafter in conjunction with the second respondent (DPP) prosecute all persons found culpable in the matter,” the judge ruled.
The three officers denied arresting the two but the evidence which includes mobile phone data by Safaricom and doctored guns’ register led to a conclusion that officers had mounted a concerted cover up. Sarah Muyera, Mambo’s mother testified in court that she was informed by her son’s friends that he was arrested by police officers over unknown white man’s killing.
The friend, known as as Guka (grandfather) also died under mysterious circumstances 21 days later.
Muthangari OCS told DCIO were told to investigate Guka’s death but he hurriedly closed the matter saying that he died out of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Government pathologist who testified in court told the judge that he had initially been told by the police that Guka died out of epilepsy. His conclusion was that he was either bundled into a car boot where he died.
“For why would the OCS in charge of station under whose jurisdiction a body of a person named in the station’s OB report as having witnessed the arrest by the AP officer only 21 days previously and the DCIO to whom the matter of the arrest was referred to by the OCPD and his AP counterpart not investigate the circumstances of death for foul play?” the judge posed.
The judge could not also believe the narrative on the CCTV as six days after the arrest, Muthangari Police Station OCS had informed the DCIO of issue and they would have managed to obtain both the mobile phone data from the officers and the CCTV information.
However, the DCIO requested the CCTV information only when the court made its orders almost a year later. Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the Attorney general had also requested for the same CCTV information two months later but did not get a reply.
On the firearm register, the record at Kawangware AP station showed Mbau returned a defaced AK 47 rifle, the record read that it happened on June 1, 2016 at 12.26 hrs.
Interestingly, it read that he was issued with a replacement, a Ceska pistol at 15. 43hrs the following day but the date was altered that he got and returned the pistol the same time and date he returned the AK 47 rifle.
However, Safaricom mobile data showed that at the hour he was returning the rifle he was at Ngong Sports C,lub, heading towards race course area.
“So, he could not have signed for the replacement Ceska Pistol at 15.43 hrs. what occured is a clear case of cover up,” the judge noted.
He added, “Not only should such police officers be held personally liable in a criminal process for the offences against the person they have arrested but the State must be held liable for the unlawful actions of their employees.”
Although the DPP was a respondent in the case, he never filed a reply.