Five police officers from Karatina Police Station, Nyeri County have been arrested for releasing 17 illegal migrants from Ethiopia after allegedly being bribed.
The officers said to be attached to the traffic base and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) of Mathira Divisional Police Headquarters are alleged to have arrested the Ethiopian nationals on Saturday at a roadblock in Karatina town as they were being ferried in a lorry.
Although their exact destination is yet to be known it is believed they were headed for Nairobi.
They were however not booked or taken to the police station as they negotiated their release and paid off the police officers.
It is, however, unclear how much money the police officers received as bribe.
Central Regional Police Coordinator Larry Kieng confirmed the arrest noting that the officers did not call in the incident or report to their seniors.
“We understand that the officers negotiated somewhere in town and released the aliens. They did not report to their seniors at the station,” said Mr Kieng’.
Police sources revealed to the Nation.co.ke that the officers had received confidential information that the Ethiopians were “being tracked by a higher authority within the police and planned to cash in on the intelligence.”
“Their movement was being tracked and it appears the officers had also received the information so they stopped them, earned their cut and let them go,” said a source who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The truck ferrying the immigrants was however intercepted at another roadblock at Sagana in Kirinyaga County after detectives tracking them realised they were still on the move despite being stopped at Karatina.
Fifteen of the immigrants were rearrested alongside the truck driver and a turn boy both believed to be Kenyan.
Two other Ethiopians were arrested in Karatina town where they had alighted.
“We have rearrested all the 17 immigrants together with the driver and turn boy. Two of them were found loitering in Karatina,” added the police boss, Mr Kieng’.
Mr Kieng’ said that once the interrogations are concluded the officers and immigrants will be charged in court.
“At the moment we are still investigating and once we are done we will take the immigrants to court. And of course whoever among our officers is found culpable we will definitely take them to court,” said the police boss.
The five police officers and the Ethiopians are being held at Karatina Police station for questioning by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
The Nation has also learned that senior officers at the Mathira Divisional Headquarters have been asked to step aside and the case is being handled at the County command by the Nyeri County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) Bridget Kanyai.