DCI Kinoti must serve four-month Kamiti prison jail term after High Court declines appeal
The High Court has declined to set aside or review the four-month jail sentence issued to DCI Boss George Kinoti.
In a ruling delivered on Monday, Justice Anthony Mrima said the order remains in force.
Justice Mrima appeared to be referring to Kinoti's prior rebuttal that he was not the legitimate keeper of firearms when he delivered the verdict, saying that the matter of gun custody had previously been dealt with in a previous judgment.
Although the DCI boss stated that the firearms were in the hands of the firearms licensing board, the Judge stated that no evidence of how they were turned over to the board had ever been presented in court.
"All government communication are in writing, but in this particular case, there was no evidence produced to confirm the manner or the date in which the petitioner transmitted the firearms to the board," Justice Anthony Mrima said on Monday.
The lack of evidence to substantiate the claimed transfer, according to the Judge, confirms that the firearms are still in the control of the DCI boss.
The DCI boss had been sentenced to four months at the Kamiti Maximum prison for contempt of court.
He was accused of failing to return a cache of firearms to businessman Jimi Wanjigi as he had been ordered by the court.
On November 24, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki filed an application with the High Court, asking for Kinoti's sentence at the Kamiti Maximum Prison to be suspended pending the hearing and decision of his petition.
Kinoti was sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of court last Thursday after failing to comply with court orders to return firearms seized from businessman Jimi Wanjigi.
He has until Thursday to surrender to the prison within 7 days, failure to which the Directorate of Public Prosecutions has been instructed to issue an arrest warrant against him.
The AG, on the other hand, claims that the contempt charges against Kinoti were misdirected because the Firearms Licencing Board is the custodian of firearms.
He also claims, through lawyer Cecil Miller, that Kinoti has no role in the handling of civilian firearms.
“The DCI has since written to the Attorney-General instructing them to write to Mr. Wanjigi’s advocates, informing them to collect their firearms from the board. By doing so, the DCI has purged the contempt,” states AG Kariuki in court papers seen by Daily Nation.
“Wanjigi maliciously failed to failed to disclose to this court material facts which if were disclosed, the court would have arrived at a different decision,” he adds, referring to Kinoti’s claims that he had already informed Wanjigi to get his guns from the board even before the court sentence.
On Sunday, Kinoti said he would rather go to jail than return Wanjigi’s confiscated firearms, saying he does have custody of the firearms in question.
"The petitioner and the judge know it's the board that is the custodian of civilian firearms. But instead of the court asking the right authority, they turn to Kinoti,” said Kinoti.
“What is the nexus between the DCI and the person whose license was revoked?The DCI, even if he is jailed for 100 years, can't give Wanjigi firearms he doesn't have," he added.
Kinoti further stated that even if he were to be in possession of the firearms, he would not return them to Wanjigi because they are prohibited, allowed for use only by the special forces.
"Even if the DCI had the firearms, and gave them back to Wanjigi, he would be breaking the law as the license to have the guns has been revoked. Some of the guns confiscated during the raid are prohibited firearms as they belong to special forces. Why would a judge order that such be returned to a civilian?"
In 2017, police seized seven firearms from the businessman's home in Malindi.
In June 2019, Justice Chacha Mwita ruled that the State acted irrationally by seizing Wanjigi's firearms while he still had a valid license.
The DCI boss had been given 30 days in early 2021 by the High Court in Nairobi to return Wanjigi's firearms, as ordered in 2019.
The deadline for the DCI to comply with the orders was March 25, 2021.
After DCI failed to return the firearms, Wanjigi filed a contempt of court proceedings suit, seeking to have them committed to civil jail.