Judge tells public officials to keep off private property

A flock of sheep grazes on the controversial Ngongeri land in Njoro. [Joseph Kipsang, Standard]

A Judge has warned government officials against interfering with private property in Njoro sub-county, Nakuru county.

Justice Hedwig Ong’udi summoned Njoro sub-county Police Commander Paul Wambugu and Mau Narok Deputy OCS Maurice Wafula over a land ownership case.

Wafula was summoned after Paul Keter, the owner of a 10-acre parcel of land, accused him of alleged harassment, detention and intimidation.

Keter claimed that the OCS and the police are unlawfully interested in his land located in Mau Narok.

He said that despite court orders dated March 25, stopping his arrest and harassment, the police arrested him, his wife, son and daughter on March 28.

“They have charged me with causing a disturbance in my farm and have charged my wife and children with preparing to commit a felony,” he said.

Keter accused the police of allegedly destroying crops on a section of his farm and spraying potatoes with harmful substances, in an attempt to possess the land.

“They assaulted me and when I went to the police station to report the incident, the officers refused to record my statement,” he said.

He said when he complained, the police detained him for two days and charged him in court.

Keter claimed that the police are biased towards him and some owners of the land forming part of the Waweru farm.

In response, however, Wafula said the police have not refused to record statements from the public.

The police boss defended Keter’s arrest saying it was not in breach of the court order.

Wafula said the man faces two charges and the case will be mentioned on April 27.

The police boss told the court that Keter was apprehended by the public after a fight erupted on the farm.

“The police went to the scene and found a group of persons armed with crude weapons who were creating disturbance on the farm. They arrested Keter,” he said.

In response, Keter’s lawyer, Ochieng Gai said that the police had not informed the him (Keter) why they were looking for him.

Gai argued that police have been insisting that Keter is occupying someone’s land despite a land case being active in court.

“The OCS has taken sides. He is not impartial and he is aiding another group, claiming ownership of the land in court against my client,” he said.

The Judge told the police to always act in accordance with the law and address all criminal issues raised by the residents in Njoro.

Justice Ong’udi said that complaints should not be brought to court against the police, over alleged bias, discrimination and oppression.