Part Two: The Court Appearance and How My Communications Were Monitored

Before presenting myself to the CID, I called friends who are senior government officials. The friends confirmed that I was summoned because of the altercation with Dr Mutua. The very unfortunate bit is that the CID Director, Ndegwa Muhoro was not aware of the case. So it seemed that Dr Mutua made a direct call to Nicholas Kamwende to arrest me for crimes he perceived that I had commited.

The case between me and Dr Mutua should be a civil case. Mutua is using his position to prefer criminal charges on me. Anyone narrowly arguing on the basis of section 29(b) of the Kenya Information and Communications Act of 2009 is being blind to the Kenyan constitution which is more superior than any other law on this land. You cannot read an act of parliament like the encyclopedia. Legal analysis is not that simple.

So after reporting to the police, I got to be told what I was being charged with. The officers were very friendly, even offering me food. I loved the hospitality of the individuals investigating my case. They treated me with care despite the fact that we did not know each other. Most of the members of the investigation team have accounts on Twitter and Facebook. They know all that are happening on Twitter. I realised that we really don’t know how much our police force if prepared for cyber crime. Kenyans on Twitter and Facebook should know that the police have proper infrastructure in place to monitor and handle cyber crime.

The problem is that they don’t have a strong legal backing to do so and they have to rely on American and European institutions to handle some of the incidences.

But don’t be deceived. The CID and NSIS are in-charge. Just get it to that extent.It is something which I will write about much later.

The CID officers asked me questions about my tweets, what I use to tweet and how often I tweet. I was asked who I work for and who pay me for all which I do. The policemen and woman were very cordial but incisive. They are a smart breed. They were very suspicious that I might have been recording the conversations so they thoroughly checked my wristwatch, pens and even phone. They pretended to take a keen interest on the same but they feared that I might have been spying on them. They know all about the Miguna book and even found one of them reading the book (physical copy) in the office. The officer revealed to me the seriousness of my case and what I was up against. They told me about the complainant who is Dr Alfred Mutua.

The CID officers told me that I was being charged with two counts, the first being “sending abusive text messages contrary to section 29(b) of the Kenya Communications Act of 2 of 1998” The second count is for “sending annoying message contrary to section 29(b) of the Kenya Communications Act 2 of 1998.” The charges attract a maximum sentence of 3 months or fine of Ksh 50,000.

At around 4pm, my lawyer realised that the officers were just passing time and doing nothing serious to take up my statement and prepare for the assured court case the next day morning. The CID officers were also playing cat and mouse game with the media which was camping at the gate of the CID headquaters.

They were buying time to stop me from engaging the media and to keep me until the next day. The officers decided to push and so they said they could not do much without listening to Nairobi CID boss, Nicholas Kamwende who was present in his office. One of the officers went up to see him. He said that the CID boss said that he “had instructions” to detain me till the court appearance. My lawyer went to see Mr Kamwende who insisted on the same.

In fact Mr Kamwende told one of the people present in his office that he had instructions to make sure that I was released on a cash bail of not less than Ksh 300,000. Legal analysts were surprised that I was released on a cash bail of Ksh 100,000 while the maximum fine for the same offence is Ksh 50,000. The higher cash bail came about as part of the recommendations of the CID officers investigating the case on orders of the Nairobi PCIO Mr Nicholas Kamwende. Somebody top in the government, let me just say that Dr Alfred Mutua is using his position to try to make sure that I am not free again. I told my lawyer not to worry about me from then. I told him that I would go to the police cell if Dr Mutua thought that I would fear going inside. It was not the first time I was spending in the police cell. In fact it was the second time in the year 2012, the first being when Erik Hersman and his sluts at Nokia and Google made sure that I spent at Kilimani police station in February.

Google has never been known to play by any sane rule. You heard the crazy data theft story where Google employed an Indian company now branded as Kuza Biashara to basically steal content from a Mocality Kenya. The same Dorothy Ooko who knows that I criticised her market strategy at Nokia is using her position at Google for the same. That is why Erik Hersman who has no unique offering for Kenyans but just that he get favours from the Ministry oof Information and communications officials who suffer from inferiority complex that they don’t easily embrace indigenous Kenyans as they embrace these corrupt foreign lay-abouts.

So my statement was taken and I was driven to Kilimani Police station where I spent the night. The station had over 26 suspects in a holding cell measuring only 5m x 7m. I enjoyed the company though. It was a nice time we had there. The morning arrived so fast, we were served breakfast and by 7am, the CID officers were there to pick me for court appearances. I was driven to the CID headquarters then to the Kilimani Courts’ basement cells where I stayed till after 9.30am. Together with other suspects, I was handcuffed and then led to court 7 to appear before Chief Magistrate P.S. Biwott. It was a long wait for the magistrate. He arrived around 10am and
went through the case mentions until my turn when the charges were read and I was released on a cash bail of Ksh 100,000 with an alternative bond of the same.

So I was taken back to the cells together with other suspects. While processing my bail through the registry, a woman named Ruth who I was later told that is very corrupt and will always be stubborn to suspects being released, inflated the cash bail amount from Ksh 100,000 to 200,000. She was adamant that I was not going to be free until I paid that amount. She insisted so much so that my lawyer got angry and reprimanded her. She argued but even her colleagues saw her stupidity and urged her to process my release. Sources later revealed to us that the “lady was getting instructions from someone high above.”

Eventually I was released and so headed home.

So later I talked to different lawyers some of who have represented clients on terror related cases. I got a confirmation that the Kenyan CID and NSIS have special desks at all telephone operators in the country. The moment you are a target, you will be listened. I got curious to ask this since the CID revealed to me not only my rendezvous but also who I was on phone with and what I was saying. Imagine being asked “so and so who is your girlfriend takes all your time boss.” When spying on you, the CID and NSIS are not limiting the operation to only the incidences related to their investigations. They are getting petty and indulging on some very stupid acts where even a very close conversation to your granny is not safe.

Another former senior employee of a mobile operator who is now in Uganda revealed to me that after the Post-Eelections Violence, NSIS control all call termination points and so it is very easy for them to act on calls without looking for any authorisation from the operators. In fact the CID and NSIS have not put up a structure on how the calls are intercepted and who can do that leaving access to the system to virtually anybody who can prove that he works with the NSIS or the CID.

My case is basically a defamation case so I was surprised that even very private conversations were being recorded and used to torture me during the investigations. The torture through the revelation of my private calls and even a print-out of all my tweets was to silence me from ever tweeting or Facebooking again. So apart from the media psychologicall warfare where Nicholas Kamwende was summoning and intimidating me through the media, another angle where private communications details were being revealed to me to freak me out was also planned.

Anybody as foolish as Erik hersman arguing on the basis of a single section of an act of parliament without looking on to the constitution, which is supreme, need to go back to school and get to understand legal arguments.

From all this experience, I have realised that our mobile operators are selling our information to the security agencies in return for protection from the government as they exploit the consumers and none of them will ever be penalised and if they will be then it will be like the recent Ksh 500,000. The controversial NIS bill is just a formality but there is nothing on that bill which this government is not doing. It is dooing worse and there is no hierachy. Even Alfred Mutua can access very confidential information about you to fight very personal battles.

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Written by Robert

Robert Alai is a respected Kenyan blogger, technical evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle or Facebook page. he is the founder of KahawaTungu.


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Part One: Why Was @RobertAlai Summoned by the CID then Locked-Up?

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