A court has ordered the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) to investigate claims by a Nairobi businessman that two police officers at Lang'ata Police Station extorted money from him.
Mr Harish Kanji Patel alleged that two senior police officers compelled him to settle a Sh20 million debt reportedly owed to Creative Joiners Ltd.
Justice Joyce Nyamweya Friday said Ipoa must conduct an independent investigation into allegations by Mr Patel, a director of Intcon Africa Ltd.
The judge said the outcome of the investigations and appropriate recommendations to the relevant authorities should be forwarded to Mr Patel within 90 days.
In the decision, Justice Nyamweya said Ipoa failed to exercise its statutory power and duties by delegating the responsibility to the internal affairs unit of the National Police Service.
This was after Mr Patel raised the issue on February 20, 2018.
Ipoa’s core mandate is to investigate complaints related to disciplinary or criminal offences committed by any member of the police service and make recommendations for necessary action to be taken.
Through lawyer Macharia Kahonge, the businessman had said that the Lang’ata OCS and criminal investigations officer, together with other police officers, were still extorting money from him and causing him constant, unlawful harassment.
Mr Patel was first arrested at Buffalo Bar on March 12, 2017, and allegedly forced to sign cheques and a formal commitment to repay the debt accruing from the sale of six vehicles worth more than Sh20 million.
After his release, the DCIO, Fatuma Hadi, and two other officers, reportedly forced to sign more cheques and effect electronic money transfer to Creative Joiners Ltd.
Mr Patel made a formal complaint to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and requested Ipoa to investigate improper use of police powers and abuse of office since the alleged debt is pending adjudication before the Milimani Commercial Court.
Ipoa had abdicated its public duty by failing to act on the complaint despite numerous letters, Mr Kahonge said.
The police, he said, were expected to protect the general public by upholding their rights and not to misuse their powers by harassing innocent civilians. The courts enjoy exclusive power to check excesses by the police, he argued.