Attorney General Kihara Kariuki has moved to court to challenge the sentencing of the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to four months in prison over contempt.
In a petition filed in court, the AG wants Kinoti’s sentence to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison suspended pending the hearing and determination of his application.
High Judge Anthony Mrima last Thursday handed Kinoti the jail term for disobeying orders that required him to return firearms confiscated from businessman Jimmy Wanjigi.
But the government’s principal legal advisor argues that contempt charges against Kinoti were misdirected because the Firearms Licencing Board is the custodian of firearms.
Through lawyer Cecil Miller Kariuki claims 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 inform them to collect their firearms from the board. By doing so, the DCI has purged the contempt,” Kariuki says in court papers.
“Wanjigi maliciously 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 ruling.
Kinoti said over the weekend that he would rather go to jail than return Wanjigi’s guns.
Kinoti told a local daily that the sentencing was based on flawed proceedings.
He argued that Wanjigi is not allowed to own a firearm since his license was revoked by the Firearm Licencing Board on January 31, 2018, and is yet to be reinstated.
Kinoti further indicated some of the firearms held by Wanjigi were high precision military firearms not authorised to be owned by civilians in Kenya under the Firearms Act.
The detective insisted that the firearms are not in the custody of the DCI.
“Even if the DCI is jailed for 100 years, he cannot give Wanjigi firearms he doesn’t have,” said Kinoti.
Justice Mrima had directed Kinoti to surrender to Kamiti Prison authorities within seven days.
Failure to do so, the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai is required to arrest him.
Police seized seven firearms belonging to Wanjigi at his house in Malindi in 2017.
The crackdown was linked to his close association with Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (NASA) that rivaled Jubilee party in the hotly contested Presidential Election whose outcome was contested.