Officers in kidnap case to remain in custody

Some of the officers linked to the disappearance of Indian nationals when they were arraigned at Kahawa Law Courts on June 06, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

At least 15 officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, a Kenya Wildlife Service and National Intelligence Service suspected to be behind the disappearance of a Kenyan driver and two Indian nationals will spend another week in remand.

Kahawa Law Court Magistrate Gideon Kiage said he is yet to receive a probation report on them to write a ruling on whether they will be released on bail or not. 

Following a year of investigations, Director of Public Prosecution Renson Ingonga approved 17 charges on the enforced disappearance of Mohamed Zaid Kidwai, Zulfiqar Khan, and driver Nicodemus Mwania in July last year.

Those charged were Chief Inspector Peter Muthee, Inspector James Kibosek, Corporal Joseph Kamau, Corporal David Chepchieng, Corporal Joseph Mwenda, Corporal John Mwangi, and Corporal Hillary Limo. Others include Constable Stephen Luseno, Simon Muhuga, Paul Njogu, Elikana Njeru, Boniface Otieno, Fredrick Thuku, John Wanjiku and Michael Kiplangat.

Muthee, Kibosek, Kamau, Chepcheing, Luseno, Muhuga and Wanjiku were charged with 13 counts, including abduction with intent of murder. 

It was alleged the nine officers serving in the defunct Special Services Unit (SSU) of the DCI, intercepted a vehicle that Mwania was driving and bundled the three occupants into another vehicle.

Further, they allegedly held Kidwai, Khan, and Mwania at Old Nairobi Area Police Headquarters SSU offices in Upper Hill before the trio disappeared. The other four counts involved the 17. According to the State, the officers jointly caused the disappearance of the three at the Aberdares National Park in Nyeri County.

They were also accused of subjecting the three to inhumane and degrading treatment. Muthee faced a separate count of forgery. It was claimed he forged a vehicle work ticket serial number Q261311 for July last year. 

The prosecution led by Senior Assistant DPP Michael Sang and James Machira, however, told the court that the State had decided to release Francis Mwendo Ndonye unconditionally after investigations vindicated him.

The 17 denied the charges and requested bail. Their lawyers Wandugi Kirathe, Martina Swiga, Clinton Mwale, and Joel Isoe told the court that the case involved civil servants.

“They were released on free bond and had been adhering to the terms. The charges are defective. I wish to indicate all the charges preferred in any court in this country are bailable by dint of Articles 49 and 50 of the Constitution. Hence, all the charges in these charge sheets are bailable unless there are compelling reasons. The honours are on the prosecution,” the court heard.  

According to the lawyers, the charges were mere allegations. The magistrate will deliver his ruling next week on Friday.