Police officers often bungle investigations to save colleagues, Ipoa says

Reports are distorted to influence the nature of investigations, while in some cases firearms are planted on the victims.

Friday March 11 2016

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) chairman Macharia Njeru displays a report on the state of the National Police Service at Ipoa's offices on February 22, 2016.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) chairman Macharia Njeru displays a report on the state of the National Police Service at Ipoa's offices on February 22, 2016. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ANGIRA ZADOCK
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Police officers deliberately bungle some investigations against their colleagues accused of murder or misusing their firearms, independent investigations reveal.

To achieve this, some initial reports are distorted to influence the nature of investigations to be carried out, while in some cases firearms are planted on the victims.

In one of the cases in a report released by the Independent Oversight Policing Authority (Ipoa) on Wednesday, police officers from Kabiyet Police Station in Nandi County made a report in the Occurrence Book that they had killed a carjacker, even after they had established that he was innocent.

The investigations, headed by the Nandi DCI boss, were bungled, and the file forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with recommendations that the matter be disposed of by way of a public inquest.

Ipoa took over the investigations and Inspector Isaac Sirengo Siatah was found to have murdered Mr Edward Kipchumba Barng'etuny.

He is to be charged in court next week.

Ipoa's head of Communications and Outreach Dennis Oketch on Thursday said the agency also recommended to the Inspector-General of Police and the police commission that disciplinary action be taken against officers who interfere with investigations.

In January this year, the DPP directed that Constable Rajab Korir of the Makongeni Police Station be charged with the murder of Mr Benard Ogutu.

The officer and his colleague had gone to Carmel Guest House in Mbotela estate where they found Mr Ogutu, who was the only one in the guest house compound at that time.

'UNKNOWN PERSONS'

They were not in their police uniforms and did not identify themselves, prompting a struggle. The officer shot him dead and later claimed that Mr Ogutu was armed.

Though he had his national ID card, they wrote in their records and at the mortuary that he was as an “unknown person”.

“Investigations also established that there was no robbery or any criminal activity on that day at Carmel Guest House and Bernard was not armed as alleged by Constable Korir,” the report said.

The DPP also in January directed that three officers from the Olenguruone Police Station be charged with the murder of Ms Caren Chepkoech Rono.

Ms Rono died in the back of a police vehicle while in the custody of Corporal Silas Mutuma Marimi, Constable Reuben Maino and Constable Wycliffe Wangila Sikuku.

She had been arrested at night but at around 2.45am, they rushed her to the hospital, claiming that she had attempted to escape by jumping out of the vehicle while it was moving.

KWEKWE MWANDAZA

It was later established that Ms Rono died as a result of a serious injury in the back of her head, and that the injuries on her were not consistent with what the officers reported.

When 14-year-old schoolgirl Kwekwe Mwandaza was shot dead in August 2014 when eight police officers stormed her home in Kinango, Kwale County, initial police reports indicated that the minor was armed with a machete and that police were justified in using their guns to kill her in self-defence.

Police preliminary investigations did not find the two officers culpable.

However, after independent investigations, former Kinango DCIO Veronica Gitahi and Constable Issa Mzee were found guilty of manslaughter last month and were sentenced to seven years in prison.

In another case, after Kitengela OCS Chief Inspector Fredrick Mukasa shot and seriously injured Mr Joshua Munene Gachoki during a demonstration on April 1, 2014, he claimed that he had shot in the air and not at anybody in particular.

The investigations were bungled but Ipoa found that the bullet removed from Gachoki’s foot was fired from Mr Mukasa’s firearm.

He is expected to be charged in court next week for the offence of unlawful wounding after the inquiry revealed that his actions “were reckless, unjustified and unprovoked in the circumstances”.

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