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Kinoti must go to jail over Wanjigi guns, court rules

NATIONAL
By Paul Ogemba | November 30th 2021

Director Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti remains a convict after the High Court declined to suspend his four-month-jail sentence.

Justice Anthony Mrima ruled that there was no new evidence that would make him change his mind on the decision to jail Kinoti for refusing to return four firearms confiscated from businessman Jimi Wanjigi.

“There is no evidence to prove that the firearms moved from his office to another government entity as he claims and, as such, the court order that he surrenders to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison to serve four months in jail are still in force,” ruled Mrima.

Justice Mrima dismissed Kinoti’s claims that he was not the one in possession of the firearms and that he was wrongly jailed for contempt of court, ruling that the court had previously found that the guns were not held by the Firearm Licensing Board.

According to the judge, it was the DCI who obtained orders allowing them to search Wanjigi’s homes in Muthaiga and Malindi after which they seized his firearms and that they cannot now turn around and pass the blame to the licensing board.

Justice Mrima had on November 26 sentenced Kinoti to four months in jail for contempt of court after he failed to return Wanjigi’s firearms despite a court order.

The judge then ordered him to surrender to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison within seven days to serve the sentence.

Kinoti, however, moved back to court seeking a review of the sentence on grounds that he was wrongfully jailed when he was not the one in possession of the businessman’s firearms.

His lawyer, Cecil Miller, submitted that no one had refused to hand over the firearms to Wanjigi, but that he had sued the wrong party and should instead approach the Firearms Licensing Board, which is the body mandated to store firearms owned by civilians.

He blamed the businessman for the continued withholding of his guns, arguing that the Attorney General had asked him to visit the Firearms Licensing Board to collect the guns but had failed.

According to the DCI, Wanjigi misled the court concerning the facts of the matter when the DCI had explained to him that he was not the one in custody of the guns.

But Justice Mrima dismissed the arguments stating that the question of who was in possession of the guns had already been settled.

“It is a fact that it was the DCI who seized the firearms, and he has not provided any evidence to show that they (guns) moved from his office to the Firearms Licensing Board. In the absence of such evidence, it means that they (DCI) are still holding the firearms and he (Kinoti) was rightly sued,” ruled Mrima.

Kinoti had also asked the court to suspend the jail sentence on account that Wanjigi had no valid firearm licence, but the judge ruled that the issue had also been settled when the court ordered that his revoked licence be reinstated.

The judge added that having failed to take action for over nine months since the court ordered that he returns the firearms, the only thing left was for Kinoti to go to jail for disobeying the court order.

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