Industrial court quashes sacking of officers in Uhuru motorcade drama

The Industrial court has dismissed the sacking of two traffic police officers accused of blocking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s motorcade in Mombasa and taking bribe from a matatu driver last year.

Justice James Rika quashed the finding of disciplinary Orderly Room proceedings against the two officers, which he ruled was not properly constituted.

In his ruling, justice Rika said Corporal Barnaba Kimeli and Joel Atuti appeared separately before two senior police officers instead of a disciplinary committee comprising of Deputy Inspector-General of the Service or a Commissioner from the National Police Service Commission, four other members appointed by the Commission and two police officers to represent each of the accused officers.

The Judge further ruled that the proceedings against Mr Kimeli and Mr Atuti took place while they were in custody for almost five days against the rule of natural justice and fair administration of justice.

Justice Rika also faulted the then Coast regional police Commander Francis Wanjohi over his handling of the case by allowing his “emotions to override evidence of the case”.

The national police service commission also directed for fresh trial of the two after examining the findings of disciplinary Orderly Room proceedings due to irregularity in the procedure used to sack the two applicants.

The commission directed that fresh procedure be done to grant fair hearing to the applicants but the two traffic officers filed the case citing that justice will not be served.

Mr Wanjohi stated that the two risked causing “international disaster” against President Kenyatta and first Lady Margaret Kenyatta had their driver was not keen enough.

However, the President’s driver recorded statement stating that he slowed down the vehicle when he spotted potholes ahead.

The Judge ruled: “President Security must not be trivialized with scare mongering,”

The court stated that the presidential motorcade arrived at the scene when the two traffic officers were wrestling with the matatu driver who had resisted arrest after they gave him a chase.

The Judge further observed that the matatu driver recorded a statement at Makupa police station denying giving bribe to the officers but he resisted giving his vehicle key in the ignition.

“The Presidential escort officer recorded statement stating he saw a scuffle between the officers and the crew of the matatu. The Presidential escort officer, Simon Wanjoike said he saw the police office taking something from the crew. The incident occurred at night,” he said.

Justice Rika said the records from the police disciplinary Orderly Room proceedings did not provide any evidence from witnesses regarding alleged bribe taking by the two officers.

The judge also declined the National Police Service commission and AG application to stay his decision.

“The court does not see anything to stay and in case the court is mistaken, the respondents are free to appeal,”

The two sued Joseph Boinnet and Coast Regional Police Commander Francis Wanjohi for “illegal dismissal from the police service”.

They claim Mr Boinnet and Mr Wanjohi cannot prove the claims in the dismissal letters.

Mr Kimeli and Mr Atuti, who were based at Makupa Police Station were were sacked on January 15 last year and sued the National Police Service and National Police Service Commission demanding their jobs back.

They sued their former bosses after their plea to the National Police Service Commission to have their jobs back was rejected.

In their affidavit the two defended themselves against the bribery accusations saying they arrested a matatu driver who had blocked the road.

“The entire process leading to our dismissal… was fallacy, illegal, null and void,” they said.

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