Man 'directed by angels' returns to haunt incoming NIS boss

Director General of the National Intelligence Service nominee Noordin Haji. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

On Tuesday, during the parliamentary vetting of Noordin Haji as the new Director General of the National Intelligence Service, a self-declared witch doctor named Stephen Mangira appeared, casting a shadow over the nomination.

In a petition dated May 24, Mangira expressed deep concerns about Haji's suitability for holding public office, citing the Reef Hotel raid incident where he alleged that his liberty and property were unlawfully taken away.

According to Mangira, Haji, who was an intelligence officer at the time, played a key role in the "great injustice" inflicted upon him. Mangira and three others were charged with narcotics trafficking and money laundering in Criminal Case No. 257 of 2017, but they were acquitted in 2021. "In the case, Haji was mentioned adversely as the individual responsible for conducting a sham and compromised investigation," Mangira stated, referring to Haji's earlier days as an intelligence officer.

Mangira claimed that although Sh20.6 million was seized from him at the time, only Sh18.5 million was disclosed, leaving some Sh2.1 million missing or undisclosed. He appeared to place the blame on Haji.

"On numerous occasions, he had the opportunity to clear me of the allegations. Instead, he detained me for several days," Mangira said.

Mangira said he filed complaints regarding the infringement of his constitutional rights, resulting in him being awarded Sh1.2 million as damages. When confronted with these allegations during the vetting by Central Imenti MP Moses Kirima, Haji dismissed the allegations as malicious.

"He signed acknowledging that the money discovered in the boot of his car was Sh18.5 million. His claim of it being Sh20 million is incorrect," Haji said. Mangira said he met Haji and that he was acquainted with him. Haji was present when the bags of money were opened. 

Mangira's case shed light on the role of intelligence officers in sting operations. The court heard that since Haji was an intelligence officer, he could not provide witness statements or evidence.

Chief Magistrate Florence Macharia was not pleased with the contradictions presented by the testimony of the police officers who were at the scene. She questioned why the intelligence officers were not called to testify.

She concluded that it is better to acquit 10 guilty individuals than to convict one innocent person. As a result, Mangira and his colleagues regained their freedom.

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