When someone complains about a rotten police force or the slow movement of the very slow wheels of justice that always require some creasing, you better take it serious.
More often than not, you will have to experience it to appreciate it.
Rarely will the high-flying members of society run afoul the law or find themselves having to deal with rigid courts. Much less so a CEO of a successful private company who happens to be a motivational speaker and a manager of no mean repute.
Mr Eric Kimani, the CEO of Palmhouse Dairies in Githunguri, Kiambu County, was privileged to deal with both a lethargic police force and the stubborn judiciary. Here he narrates his interesting experience:
THE DEVIL HIMSELF VISITED US!
I landed on Sunday night from Lagos. The first person to speak to was our Factory Manager who explained a breakdown they had had since late last week on essential equipment!
I got home and heard how the police and some county environment officials had picked up our Finance Manager late on Saturday afternoon on tramped-up charges of effluent disposal to the public drain and had to be released on cash bail of 30k.
Yesterday (Monday), I needed to be at General Motors at 7a.m. to speak to a breakfast of 450 employees on Excellence and Time Management. By the time I finished, the phone was ringing from everyone at the Factory.Our Finance Manager having denied the charges before the magistrate was asked for a cash bail of 200k and a surety of 500k!
I drove straight to the factory carrying logbooks of personal vehicles for the bail. The court clerk said the tax revenue online search report on the vehicle to be used was not stamped. I pleaded that the reason KRA is allowing online search is to save the public time and costs.
It was now nearly 3.30pm and the magistrate would leave any moment. Though we had the vehicle to be used as security outside and worth much more than the 200k, we were required to have an insurance valuation! We had been waiting for our insurers to send one on email. The magistrate refused to sign the release unless we have the valuation.
I camped outside his door and demanded to see him. By some stroke of “luck” (God’s grace), he allowed me in. I pleaded and he signed! The next step was to go to the police for the release of our manager who was now in the cell. The police told us that the Release Order was wrongly addressed to the Remand Officer, Kiambu, and so we needed to take it back to the court to amend it to read the OCS, Githunguri! It is always a harrowing experience to deal with the Kenya Police!
We waited for over one hour for the officer in charge at the police station, as he had gone back to his house. I have been to the police before and I know their trick is to wear out their customers’ patience and drive them to anxiety level that can drive you nuts!
We took another hour after this running for photocopies of the government records from the courts which were clearly unnecessary but we persisted. The manager was released and you should have seen the officer as he reached for the safe key and returned the 30k cash bail; it seemed painful!
I was told that someone had called earlier in the day to suggest that our manager should plead guilty to the offence; get fined 10k and let “others” keep the 20k! It is horrifying!
Our manager will have two court appearances in May and in June and the main hearing is in July 2017.
We are among the longest and most loyal tax payers in Githunguri locality for 21 years. How can the County Government of Kiambu treat its customers like this? We are lucky that I have the resources (and the resolve) to fight. My heart went out to the old women I saw in the police and citizens I saw at the courts going throw these horrific experiences!
I had earlier called a very senior friend at the County Government who told me that these officers were saboteurs wanting their government to fail and that he would call back…he has not and I am not sure he will.
I called Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) where we are members who asked us to write to them to lodge the complaint. And we continue singing the song that “SME’s are the back bone of the economy”!
At the end of the day, I felt very satisfied that I did not have to bribe anyone but I felt a violated citizen.
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