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Police on the spot over the loss of a lorry at the station

WESTERN
By Jack Murima | July 2nd 2018

Regional and county investigators have been summoned to court to explain the whereabouts of a lorry that went missing from the Kakamega Police Station.

The Kakamega County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) and the Western Region Criminal Investigations Officer have been ordered to appear in court tomorrow after claims that the vehicle could have been illegally auctioned.

The owner, Bilha Namalwa, filed a petition, saying her vehicle was impounded by police on claims of double registration a year ago, yet no one has been charged with any criminal offence.

In an affidavit, Ms Namalwa said the vehicle, registration number KAZ 702G, which has been in police custody since June 2017, might have been sold during a public auction of unclaimed motorcycles.

“In June 2017, county criminal investigation officers impounded, confiscated and took the said motor vehicle to the Kakamega Police Station parking yard and booked it in the Occurrence Book, but the material of the investigations were not disclosed,” she said.

Namalwa, a nurse at Kakamega County General Hospital, insisted that upon inquiry of the detention, she was told the lorry was being investigated but the nature of the offence was not disclosed.

“I was told to surrender the ownership documents after I produced the original logbook. I was then told to give the officers time to conduct and conclude investigations, which I obliged. In December 2017, I requested to have the lorry back to no avail,” she continues.

To her surprise, on May 16 this year, she said she did not find the motor vehicle at its usual place of parking at the police station, making her inquire about its whereabouts.

“While at the station, I found officials from Pave Auctioneers selling by way of auction all motor vehicles christened as unclaimed properties and I got apprehensive that my lorry may have been sold as unclaimed,” Namalwa said.

She cited as unconstitutional and unjustified the way the Mitsubishi lorry was confiscated and the length of time police took to conduct investigations without anybody being charged.

The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Inspector General of Police are respondents.

Namalwa wants the vehicle, which she said was in a good condition when it was impounded, returned to her to mitigate further loss.

“I have given the officers ample time to conduct their investigations but I have not been charged with any offence. I strongly believe they are abusing their office by continued detention of the lorry with the sole purpose of alienating it from me yet I'm the registered owner,” she said.

Release lorry

Chief Magistrate Bildad Ochieng’ had ordered the CCIO to surrender the lorry to the court on June 4. The magistrate order that the officer appear in person when he failed to do so.

In a replying affidavit, detective Geoffrey Mwera, said the vehicle shared a registration number with another one in Mombasa.

Mr Mwera insisted that the petitioner was not the absolute owner of the lorry and that the registration documents in her name were illegal. The matter will be heard tomorrow.

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