Officers’ failure to testify in Waiganjo case raises queries - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Officers’ failure to testify in Waiganjo case raises queries

Mr Joshua Waiganjo who was accused of
The controversy surrounding the police officers involved in the arrest of Mr Joshua Waiganjo, the man who was acquitted of charges of impersonating senior police officers seven years ago, remains unresolved.
New revelations indicate that the officers’ failure to testify was the cause of acquittal of the suspects last Friday.
During the hearing, the court was informed that four officers were involved in the arrest of Mr Waiganjo alongside his two co-accused, namely, former Rift Valley Police boss John M’mbijiwe and Anti Stock Theft Unit Commander Remi Ngugi, who has since died.
The officers who allegedly jointly investigated the case, according to the prosecution, were Superintendent of Police Fatuma Abdi, Gideon Kimilu, Joseph Ngisa and Jonathan Napikwe.
However, neither of them testified and no reason was given to court why they could not testify.
The prosecution, which was led by Ms Sandra Kosgey, had indicated to court that, only one who was the chief investigator would testify in the case.
However, it turned out that the officers had not recorded statements and were not part of the 40 witnesses’ records supplied to the defence team.
Ms Gedi who appeared in court following a warrant of arrest denied being the investigating officer and therefore, could not testify as such.
Ms Kosgey, after running out of options, bowed to pressure and left the matter to the court to decide.
The trial magistrate Joe Omido proceeded to close the prosecution case without the officers testifying.
Attempts by the Director of Public Prosecutions to reopen the case were unsuccessful, after the High court threw out their application.
In a ruling on Friday, the magistrate noted that failure by the officers to testify forced the court to draw an adverse inference that their evidence would have been unfavourable to the prosecution case.
“Absence of such evidence necessarily creates a lacuna in the case for the prosecution, because it gives the impression that the central government police officers had nothing to do with the case and had taken no part whatsoever in investigating and deciding on the charge to be preferred against the suspects,” Mr Omido said.
For that reason, the prosecution could not establish a prima facie case to have the court place the suspects on their defence.
Legal experts opined that the failure by the officers to testify watered down the prosecution case.
Lawyer David Mongeri noted that the arresting and investigating officers were crucial witnesses in the case.
Mr M’Mbijiwe and Mr Ngugi, who were charged with abuse of office by cushioning Mr Waiganjo, as he allegedly masqueraded as a senior police officer for years, without detection, were acquitted.
As the three enjoy their freedom, the question as to why the officers did not testify remain unanswered with speculations rife that they could have had a hand in the suspects’ acquittal.

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