Dreaded officer in Jomo, Moi era dies at 82

Wednesday March 18 2020

Assistant Police Commissioner Joginder Singh Sokhi escorts Ms Chelagat Mutai to court. Sokhi’s last major assignment was the investigation on the 1982 coup plotters. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Joginder Singh Sokhi — one of the most dreaded police officers of the Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi regimes — died on Tuesday and took with him many questions on what he knew about the cover-ups that took place under his watch. He was 82.

Mr Sokhi, an ally of former Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, was entangled in the web of the mysterious assassination of politician JM Kariuki.

A parliamentary committee appointed to probe the 1975 murder was informed that Mr Sokhi had asked a corporal whose son had found Mr Kariuki's watch in Makongeni Police Station to keep quiet.


While Mr Sokhi, and other senior government officers named in the Elijah Mwangale report survived, he for years was the face of political persecution in Kenya and once raided the newsroom and took away several editors.

He is also remembered as the Assistant Superintendent of Police who investigated the murder of Tom Mboya in July 1969, leading to the arrest of Nahashon Njenga.


It is Mr Sokhi who asked Mr Njenga the famous question: "Is this the gun that killed Mboya?". Njenga retorted: "Why don't you ask the big man?  But neither Mr Njenga nor Mr Sokhi told the court who the “big man” was.


After leaving the police service, Mr Sokhi ran the private detective service Deter and Detect, and was always reluctant to say what he knew about Mr Kariuki's death even after the family threatened to sue him.

“If police think I am guilty, then they should come for me?" he once told an inquisitive journalist.

The body of the former powerful detective was  cremated yesterday at Kariakor Crematorium in Nairobi.