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Suspect in fake magistrate case held for 14 more days

RIFT VALLEY
By Julius Chepkwony | October 13th 2021
Victor Kiprono Ng'eno at Nakuru Central Police Station where he was arraigned in court conducted Via zoom on October 12, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Detectives in Nakuru have been allowed 14 days to continue detaining a man accused of masquerading as a magistrate and defrauding members of the public.

Senior Magistrate Rose Ombata in a ruling delivered yesterday said the police gave sufficient reasons to warrant the detention of Victor Kiprono Ng'eno.

Ng'eno allegedly obtained money from Samuel Soi by falsely pretending that he was a magistrate and would intervene in expediting the determination of a civil case he had filed at the Nakuru Law Courts.

Ng'eno is said to have obtained Sh100, 000 from Soi on diverse dates between March 15, 2018, and December 31, 2019.

Further, police claim the man obtained an additional Sh1, 564,230 from Soi on the pretence that he was a brother to Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and would help his (Soi) son secure a job at the Kenya Pipeline.

The CS was formerly in charge of Energy before a recent mini-cabinet reshuffle by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Yesterday, the court said it was guided by the constitutional provision of rights of an arrested person.

Ombata said an arrested person has a right to be released on bond and or bail on reasonable conditions pending a charge or trial unless there are compelling reasons not to be released.

The court said several reasons had been advanced as to why Ng'eno should be detained for 14 days as police conduct investigations.

“Several reasons have been advanced as to why the respondent (Ng'eno) should be detained further and I am satisfied that the reasons that have been adduced and especially that the police need more time to process the several complains that has been made against the respondent,” read the ruling of the court.

The court noted that the police need time to establish the true identity of the suspect and also carry out an identification parade.

The court noted that the investigating officer in the case Inspector of Police Elias Baya had proved there are compelling reasons for him to continue holding the man pending the conclusion of the case.

“I therefore find and I am of the view that 14 days is quite reasonable time so as to give the police ample time to conduct and conclude investigations herein. The application to detain the respondent for 14 days is hereby allowed,” stated the magistrate.

In the application, the investigating officer said there are seven more complainants who over the weekend lodged complaints against Ng'eno hence necessitating more time for investigations.

The police in the application said there is a need to establish the true identity of the man by sending fingerprints to the National Registration Bureau (NRB) in Nairobi since he alleges he had not been issued with an identification card.

"There is need to conduct identification parade, since several complaints against him had been reported and some complaints come from outside County of Nakuru," reads the application in part.

The detectives also want the recovered mobile phones to be taken to the cybercrime unit for forensic analysis.

"There is need to verify recovered Judicial Service Commission Employment forms," reads the application further.

Kiprono was arrested on October 9 at Shabaab estate in Nakuru town.

Ng'eno thRough his lawyer Kipkemboi Sirma had opposed the application for detention saying it overrides his client's rights. He pleaded with the court to at least reduce the detention to seven days.

Lawyer Kipkoech Ng'etich acting for the victims said most of the complaints are of impersonation and consequently obtaining thousands of money. Complaints are all over the country some

“There is an immense public interest in the case. The public interest will be served for doing comprehensive investigations,” Kipkoech said.

Lawyer George Omwanza representing the Law Society of Kenya said the question of masqueraders has been a real challenge.

“Mr Kiprono who appears before the court this afternoon has had a long and winding history on allegations before the court. He's been a real threat to the profession in what he does,” said Omwanza.

Omwanza said in a year they have been able to unearth a chain of associates who works with Ng'eno. He said there is a need to bring sanity to the legal professions and also safeguard members of the public.

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