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IG Mutyambai orders probe into Karen pub raid by police officers

NATIONAL
By Hudson Gumbihi | August 14th 2021

The internal affairs unit within the Kenya Police Service is investigating the circumstances under which two officers stormed a restaurant in Karen and carted away an assortment of expensive drinks.

The Standard has established that already two senior investigators have visited Spasso Restaurant and Bar at Karen Shopping Centre and interviewed some of of the witnesses present during the Wednesday raid.

On Friday, two police officers from internal affairs unit visited the restaurant and recorded statements from several people.

During the raid, an assortment of drinks whose value was yesterday given as Sh110,000 was carried away by the officers.

In a video clip that went viral, one of the officers, who was in uniform, is seen taking from from the bar shelf, bottles of alcohol and putting them in a crate.

According to the recording, when some of the patrons challenged the officer to demonstrate whether there is any violation of law, the policeman is heard saying: “No, you are behind the law, you don’t know the law,” before proceeding to pick up more bottles.

Economist Robert Shaw, who was seen in the clip trying to argue with the officer from Karen Police Station, said he has since recorded a statement after Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai ordered a probe into the incident that comes at a time when the police are in the spotlight for unprofessional conduct.

Exceedingly scary

“The incident was exceedingly scary and I even wondered whether these people were actual policemen,” said Shaw, adding that the senior officer told him to go back to his homeland in Europe.

Coronavirus containment measures require restaurants to operate up to 9pm while curfew starts at 10pm and ends at 4am.

Shaw said the two armed officers stormed the restaurant on Wednesday at around 8.30pm as patrons were clearing their meals, drinks and bills.

The senior officer then headed straight to the bar, and demanded drinks from the bartender.

When she hesitated, the officer shoved her aside and started taking certain bottles of liquor worth about Sh110,000, according to management.

Shaw said he was on his way home and had made a stop over at the restaurant on the third floor of Landmark Building — directly opposite Karen Police Station — to buy take-away dinner.

Bottle of beer

He was enjoying a bottle of beer while waiting for his meal to be ready when the two officers walked in.

“The officer talked to me in a very demeaning manner.... It is important to point out that they did not state under which Act or piece of legislation they were doing this and for what reasons,” said Shaw.

A worker at the restaurant who witnessed the incident said they were preparing to close for the day.

“We had not broken any rule since we were within the Covid-19 stipulated timelines,” said the staff. She said that the raid happened at 8:35pm.

However, an officer at Karen Police Station said there was a violation of regulations but did not elaborate.

“My position does not allow me to talk to the media,” the police officer said.

Lang'ata sub-County police commander Benjamin Mwanthi said he was not in a position to comment on the matter since he was away on other duties at Kasarani Stadium where a sports event was taking place.

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