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DCI wants court to lift order blocking sugar trader’s arrest

Contraband sugar
Contraband sugar in Eldoret. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG 

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations wants the High Court to lift orders stopping police from arresting Kirinyaga businessman Patrick Njiru Kuria and his wife Leah Njeri over sale of contraband sugar seized in Nairobi.

Investigating officer Timon Melly, while challenging the court’s directive, said the orders granted by Kerugoya High Court judge Lucy Gitari last week have prevented police from completing investigations.

Mr Kuria is brother to Kirinyaga Women Representative Wangui Ngirichi. Justice Gitari granted the couple a Sh200,000 anticipatory bail following an application by their lawyer Ndegwa Njiru. The court also stopped their arrest.

“The applicants are not available to submit the required documentation which should assist the police in the investigations. It is only fair that the court orders the applicants to present themselves to Parklands police station in Nairobi,” said Mr Melly.

The request was filed on Thursday by the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions through prosecution counsel Geoffrey Sitati, during mention of the case before Kerugoya chief magistrate Samuel Soita.

“The allegation by the applicants that the importation of 600 bags of sugar was certified by the Sugar Directorate is not correct since there is no certificate from AFA (Agriculture and Food Authority) supporting this assertion. In any event, AFA has power to grant authority to import and not certification as to fitness for human consumption,” said Mr Melly.

He stated that the entrepreneurs had failed to produce documents to support their claim that the imported 600 bags were certified by the Port Health Department.

He said that the body mandated by law to certify food products for human consumption is the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).

He further denied that police had threatened the couple.

“On June 11 and 12 the applicants were together with the police when they gave an erroneous indication that they were going to assist police in investigating, only to suddenly stop cooperating.
“It is therefore not correct to allege harassment, humiliation and ill will,” said Mr Melly.

He said that police were not intending to violate the couple’s rights by probing the matter.

“The applicants are only speculating that they are likely to be arrested without furnishing the court with good reasons. Rights of suspects are protected under the Constitution including the rights of arrested persons under Article 4 (a),” he said.

The detective further observed that the entrepreneurs committed the offence of dealing with substandard sugar within Kiambu County and would have filed the application in Kiambu or Nairobi High Court.

The traders also filed a contempt of court application against police.

Their lawyer Ndegwa Njiru indicated that the Directorate Criminal Investigations Officer Parklands Police Station had authorised his officers to arrest Ms Njiru and detain her in his office. The hearing will be on July 18.

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