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DCI officers in Indians abduction case fight detention


Police officers from the disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU). [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Four Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers suspected to be behind the disappearance of two Indian nationals and a taxi driver have moved to the High Court seeking orders to block their detention for 30 days.

Peter Muthee, Francis Muendo, John Mwangi and Joseph Kamau argue that the National Police Internal Affairs Unit has no powers to investigate crime. The four were attached to the disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU). “The mandate of the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) is limited to conducting investigations on complaints on and offenses against discipline by police officers,” their lawyer Danstan Omari argued.

In their case, they claimed the unit is “biting beyond the teeth it has been bequeathed.” “The first respondent is wading outside its statutory mandate which is limited to investigations of internal matters within the National Police Service (NPS) while encroaching and usurping the statutory mandate of the second respondent ( the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA),” their court papers filed before Kiambu High Court read.

This comes as Kahawa Magistrate Diana Mochache dismissed their objection challenging IAU powers to seek orders to detain them for 30 days for investigations.

According to the magistrate, the law does not specifically point out the kind of complaints the unit can handle. She asserted that the unit is being represented in court by the Director of Public Prosecution who has the power to seek orders on their behalf.

Declined prayer

At the same time, the magistrate declined another prayer to lock out the families of Mohamed Zaid Kidwai, his friend Zulfiqar Khan and their driver Nicodemus Mwania from the case.

According to the four officers’ other lawyer Shadrack Wambui, the participation of the three families should only be allowed if the four officers were officially charged. “ The victim’s place in law only arises after an accused person has pleaded to accusations raised against them. The victims have no role in investigations proceedings,” said Wambui.

He asserted that no charges had been preferred against Muthee, Muendo, Mwangi and Kamau for now.

Wambui told the magistrate that the victims are represented by the DPP and therefore did not need to participate separately.

While opposing the application, the victim’s lawyer Cohen Amanya argued that they have a right to be involved in the entire process.

“On behalf of the victims, I think the most aggrieved persons are victims. We have persons who have not been found. The victims disappeared between July 22 - July 23, roughly four months ago. We need to relook how the family is feeling. It is their right to have the matter conclusively determined,” argued Amanya.

Meanwhile, IAU, in its application to detain the four for 30 days and take their DNA, alleges that it has faced interference from government officials including the police. “From the time the applicant took over investigations, and in the course of gathering evidence, it has faced interference and threats to life from serving public servants and police officers,” Michael Kirui, an investigator probing the disappearance of the three claims.

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