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Court stops IG Joseph Boinnet from sacking senior police officer acquitted of bribery charges

COUNTIES
By Dennis Mbae | June 8th 2015

NYERI: An attempt to sack a senior police officer previously charged with criminal offence and acquitted has hit a snag after the Industrial Court in Nyeri ruled the move was unconstitutional.

Justice Byram Ongaya faulted the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and Inspector General (IG) for insisting on disciplining Deputy OCS Joshua Maingi even after he was cleared last December from charges of soliciting bribes from motorists in Nairutia, Kieni constituency.

In its defence, NPSC argued it had powers under Section 88 (4) of the National Police Service Act to take disciplinary action against a police officer who commits a criminal offence – whether leading to disciplinary action, conviction or acquittal.

Justice Ongaya, however, dismissed the argument saying it contravened Article 50 (2) of the Constitution which entitled Maingi not to be tried for an offence which he had previously been acquitted.

He added that in so far as Maingi's liability to the charges was concerned, no other authority could subject him to a retrial for what he had been acquitted of.

Justice Ongaya further directed that the judgment, delivered on Friday, be served within seven days to the Attorney General, the Law Reform Commission, and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution for appropriate action regarding the unconstitutionality of Section 88 (4) of the National Police Service Act.

Maingi, who has been in the police service for over 28 years, was interdicted in 2012 after being charged with seven counts of engaging in corruption.

He was, however, acquitted three years later after a chief magistrate court found that the available evidence could not sustain a conviction.

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Maingi's interdiction was lifted through a letter dated March 18, 2015, and he was directed to report back to duty awaiting further instructions.

But he received another letter with the same date from the Deputy IG requiring him to show-cause why he should not be removed from the Kenya Police Service in view of the criminal charges he previously faced.

The letter, signed by Kieni OCPD Sammy Makokha, also referred to an incident whereby Maingi then a police constable in 1991 was fined Sh350 after pleading guilty to an act prejudicial to good order and discipline.

He rushed to court in April after Central Region Police Commander Larry Kieng wrote to the Deputy IG recommending his sacking.

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