Two arraigned in Kitui court over possession of unlicensed guns, fake certificates

Tuesday February 9 2016

Erick Arani Malik alias Buddy (left) and John

Erick Arani Malik alias Buddy (left) and John Mulatya Masila when they appeared before a Kitui court on Monday, February 8, 2016. They were charged with being in possession of unlicensed firearms and forgery of civilian firearms certificates. The hearing of their case was adjourned to May 18, 2016. PHOTO | THOMAS WAITA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By THOMAS WAITA
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Two men have been charged in a Kitui court for being in possession of unlicensed firearms even as police move to recall civilian firearms for inspection following revelation of a gun-licencing scam.

Erick Arani Malik alias Buddy and John Mulatya Masila on Monday appeared before Principal Magistrate Esther Boke but the prosecution requested for adjournment of the case to a later date citing absence of the prosecuting officer who was away on official duty.

The two were first arraigned before Resident Magistrate Rose Ombata on October 23, 2015 where they denied possessing the firearms (both of Taurus model) without valid firearm certificates from the Central Firearms Bureau.

They were also accused of, jointly with others not before the court and at unknown date, place and time, forging civilian firearm certificates for their weapons purporting them to be genuine licencing documents issued by the Central Firearms Bureau.

Mr Malik was apprehended at Akila in Lang'ata, Nairobi County on October 20, 2015 while his co-accused was arrested at Kitui Central Police Station in Kitui Town on October 19, 2015.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were each released on a bond of Sh500,000 with a similar surety.

Their firearms have since been confiscated by the officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Kitui pending the conclusion of their case.

The prosecution on Monday told the court that six witnesses have been lined up to testify against the two accused persons during trial.

This comes barely two days after the police announced their plan to recall all firearms owned by civilians for inspection after a licencing syndicate, that has “facilitated” issuance of fake certificates to scores of unsuspecting individuals, was unearthed in September 2015.

Ms Boke ordered the case be heard on May 18, 2016.