The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) is investigating a senior police officer over land grabbing claims in Embakasi, Nairobi.
According to a complaint filed to Ipoa by Wanja and Kibe Advocates on behalf of Mr Kapildev Kotedia, Mr Johnstone Ipara, the current Uasin Gishu County Police Commander, is accused of using his position in the service to grab the one-acre land valued at about Sh150 million.
Acting director of complaints at Ipoa, Mr Evans Okeyo, confirmed to the Sunday Nation that the authority is investigating the officer and referred us to head of communications, Mr Dennis Oketch.
“Ipoa is aware of the matter and it is undertaking investigations with a view to establishing factuality and making appropriate recommendations,” said Mr Oketch.
According to the complaint, Mr Ipara subdivided the land and sold or leased portions to several persons and to his immediate family members.
“Mr Ipara is using the position as a senior police officer to profiteer from this land through unlawful means,” the complaint signed by Ms Eunice Kibe of Wanja and Kibe Advocates reads.
Mr Kotedia was appointed by the court as the guardian and manager of the estate of Mr Dinesh Ramji Kotedia, his father, the registered owner of the land in dispute but who is ailing from Alzheimer’s disease.
The ailment is a condition associated with progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalised degeneration of the brain. It is the commonest cause of premature senility.
Numerous land disputes and related deaths have been reported in Embakasi with fingers pointing at the police for colluding with illegal gangs to reign terror on rightful land owners.
Ipoa was established under the new constitution to, among others, investigate claims of police misconduct in the discharge of their duties.
The authority receives complaints from the public on police misconduct and undertakes independent investigations as well as complaints from police officers against their fellow colleagues.
Ipoa can also initiate investigations on its own motion and may refer cases to appropriate agencies, including seeking the court’s intervention to have its recommendations implemented.
“Our client appeals to your office to look into this complaint and to assist him to get justice and to stop the blatant abuse of office and impunity by the officer,” the lawyers say.
Mr Ipara is accused of grabbing the land at the time he worked as the OCPD in Embakasi and efforts to have it reclaimed by the owner have failed due to the influence he commands in the police service.
The complaint further alleges that sometimes in March 2017, Mr Ipara through his advocates gave an offer to purchase the land for Sh27 million.
However, Mr Kotedia declined on account that the amount was far below the market value.
After realising that the family had turned down his offer, sometimes in 2017, Mr Ipara together with 16 other individuals are said to have filed proceedings in court seeking ownership of the land through adverse possession.
Interestingly, the case No. 408 of 2017 filed at the city’s Environment and Land Court (ELC) was not served on Mr Kotedia despite being a requirement in the law.
According to the complaint, the suit has proceeded without Mr Kotedia’s participation since he was never served, which is likely to constitute the offence of perjury or lying under the oath.
Mr Kotedia has since notified the National Management Authority (Nema) of the illegal structures on the land and wants them demolished within seven days, failing which he will move to court.