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Officers in Mombasa contradict each other on how they allowed suspects to flee

COUNTIES
By Willis Oketch | August 20th 2015

A detective probing the discovery of ivory trophies worth Sh200 million in Mombasa’s Tudor estate mid last year has admitted that he allowed two unknown men to flee the scene of crime.

Tom Juma disclosed that when he went to Fuji Motors premises with other detectives, including a chief inspector of police on June 4 last year, he arrested the firm’s manager and other workers but allowed two other male adults of Asian descent to slip away.

Mombasa Principal Magistrate Davis Karani (right) records proceedings as police constable Tom Juma was being cross-examined by state counsel Alexander Muteti during an open court hearing of the Ivory case outside the Kenya Wildlife Services Mombasa offices at the Pirates beach, August 19, 2015. The four suspects are charged with smuggling ivory tusks in Mombasa while one of them Feisal Mohammed was arrested in Tanzania where he had taken refuge. The hearing continues.

(PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD)

Pressed by the defence lawyers and State prosecutors on why he allowed the men to leave the scene, Mr Juma claimed “the two Asian adults were let to go because we thought they were not involved in the crime”.

Juma’s statement yesterday contradicted his boss, Chief Inspector Peter Mbua who on Monday told the same court that “we did not arrest these two people because they were school boys”.

Mr Mbua claimed that, in his estimation, the two were students because of their age. He failed to explain why even students found at the scene of crime could not be considered as suspects.

He was testifying in the case in which prime suspect Faisal Mohamed is charged alongside five others for being in possession of ivory.

Police conduct

Mbua and Juma’s appearance formed the second time the court was being told about police conduct in the matter.

Early this year, a top police officer at Makupa Police Station admitted that nine cars detained at the motor firm and, which were marked as exhibits, disappeared from the scene.

The yard in which the cars were kept was cleared on the basis of a court order from a separate court in a civil suit.

Ironically, police from Makupa station who were supposed to be guarding the cars as exhibits assisted in bringing down the yard.

The move prompted the Director of Public Prosecutions to apply for orders to jail the Makupa OCS for contempt of court for destroying exhibits.

Juma told Mombasa Principal Magistrate Davis Karani that when police officers gained access into the premises, he saw some two Asian adults who were not arrested for questioning.

The officer also admitted that the watchman who was guarding the ivory of about 24 tonnes was also not arrested, nor did he give the mobile number of the owner of the ivory, who had instructed him not to open the gate until he gave the permission.

Mr Mohamed has been denied bond while his co-accused are out on bond.

Mohamed was arrested in Tanzania where he was hiding despite a warrant of arrest having been issued on June 11 last year.

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