Seven city askaris charged with violent robbery

Tuesday October 31 2017

Nairobi county askaris

Froml left: Nairobi County askaris Bernard Maina Kogo, Peter Ndung'u Gitau and Philemon Cheburet Kimei in a Nairobi court where they were charged with robbery with violence. They denied the charge and were released on a cash bail of Sh100,000 each. Case will be heard on November 30, 2017. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By LILLIAN MUTAVI
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Over seven Nairobi County inspectorate officers have been charged in court with robbery with violence after they were arrested on Sunday.

The county askaris were accused of soliciting bribes from hawkers and using crude weapons found in their vehicles during the operations.

This comes at a time when Governor Mike Sonko has been lenient to hawkers who have taken over the city, turning the central business district to an open air market.

John Muchoki, Maurice Mwonga, David Mwangi and Wabwoba Maruti, were accused of robbing Hussein Bashir Saney of 177 pairs of assorted ladies trousers valued at Sh100,000 along Eastleigh 7th Street while armed with crude weapons.

ROBBED HAWKER

The four officers were also charged with robbing Mr Stephen Maina Muthumbi at the same area of 27 pairs of bed sheets and ten curtains all valued at Sh15,800.

The county askaris are said to have moved to Eastleigh 5th Street armed with pangas, rungus and metal bars where they robbed another victim, William Odongo of 150 pairs of assorted jeans worth Sh150,000 and also robbed Mr Benson Macharia of assorted vests worth Sh20,000 among other victims recorded by the investigating officers.

Other three county officials patrolling along Forest Lane Ngara were also arrested over similar charges of robbery with violence.

Philemon Kimei, Peter Gitau and Bernard Kogi were charged with violently robbing Cyrus Maingi of Sh600 on October 29 on Forest Lane in Ngara while armed.

CASH BAIL

The county officials were all released on a Sh100,000 cash bail each and a bond of Sh300,000 with hearing set for November 30.

However the Kenya County Government Workers Union is demanding for the release of officers arrested on allegations of possession of crude weapons.

Branch secretary Benson Olianga said that Governor Sonko ordered the arrest of the officers who were found with knives and pangas in their vehicle during a patrol.

This comes at a time when the when the governor and union are at loggerheads for what they term as harassment by the county government.

STOP HARASSMENT

“The governor should stop harassing staff. We demand the immediate release of officers who on Sunday were arrested in possession of crude weapons,” said Mr Olinga.

Mr Olianga argued that the governor should have investigated if the crude weapons were confiscated from the hawkers as the askaris were not caught committing crime.

Mr Olianga said that the continuing harassment is meant to intimidate the officers who are out to help him bring sanity in the city.

“The governor is jeopardizing his effort to clean up the city in his bid to raise his profile by clashing with the same officers who are helping him,” said Mr Olianga.

He added that the county should pay for their cash bail since they were arrested in the line of duty and also withdraw the charges against them.