Drama unfolded at the Mombasa Law Courts on Thursday when two police officers were detained in court cells.
The officers were locked up for three hours after they re-arrested five suspects who had been discharged over a Sh6.8 million fraud case involving Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).
Ms Eunice Mwende Ndolo, Mr Felix Muia Ndolo, Mr Edmond Kituri, Mr Benson Mwai Kasugu and Mr Evans Kenda Kiplagat had been accused of defrauding KCB of Sh6,793,796 between January 12, and June 2, 2017.
Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Henry Nyakweba ordered the detention of the two police officers for re-arresting the suspects within court precincts yet the prosecution had failed to provide evidence linking the accused persons to the offence.
Mr Nyakweba advised the officers to bond the suspects should they find new evidence to revive the case instead of making an arrest without pressing new charges against them.
“The accused have been discharged and they are free to walk home. They should not be arrested or take plea anywhere in relation to this case unless prosecution presses new charges on (sic) them,” the magistrate said.
Such charges, he said, should be preferred in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
The suspects had however wanted the case to proceed to full hearing, arguing they were being arrested and harassed by the police and their reputation had been tarnished.
The magistrate discharged them after the state said it had no evidence to sustain the case.
The prosecution did not state how or where the crime was committed.
“The prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The court finds that there is no adequate evidence against the suspects. They are therefore discharged,” the magistrate ruled.
Immediately after they were acquitted, detectives re-arrested them outside the courtroom and detained them.
When they were brought back to court and charged for a second time, it is the police officers who attracted the court’s attention.
The magistrate ordered the officers thrown in cells for trying to abuse the court process.
Relatives of the suspects said the officers were acting at the behest of unnamed external forces.