Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Chief George Kinoti was on Thursday, November 18 sentenced to 4 months in prison after being found guilty of contempt of court.
The ruling was delivered by Justice Antony Mrima, who directed the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to effect the warrants against Kinoti if he fails to surrender himself to the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison facility in Nairobi with the seven days.
Kinoti was found in contempt to court after the DCI failed to return firearms and ammunition owned by business tycoon and 2022 Presidential aspirant Jimi Wanjigi. The weapons include a Smith and Wesson pistol, one Glock pistol and an assault rifle among others.
The firearms had been taken from Wanjigi’s residence in 2017, at a time when he was at odds with the government over his support for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.
In January 2019, a court ordered the DCI to return the firearms and ammunition seized from Wanjigi – an order the DCI failed to comply with. Kinoti then failed to show up in court on Monday, September 27 ignoring summons from a judge.
Justice Mrima noted that Kinoti had been given an opportunity for mitigation before the sentence was passed but he failed to appear in court.
In 2019, the courts had found that the State acted illegally by confiscating Wanjigi’s firearms when he still held valid licenses.
“The actions of the respondents (the State) were unlawful and actuated by malice. The court grants orders that all firearms be returned to the plaintiff (Wanjigi),” High Court Judge Chacha Mwita ruled
Kinoti and the DCI were yet to issue a statement on his arrest by the time of going to press.
The ruling is set to shine a spotlight on the government’s regard, or lack of it, for court orders. Disregard for court orders has formed a key element of criticism leveled against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.