Lawyer sues police service over corruption on the highways

Nakuru lawyer, Bernard Kipkoech Ngetich. 

Photo credit: Joseph Openda | Nation Media Group

A Nakuru-based lawyer has sued the National Police Service over alleged impunity along highways.

Mr Bernhard Kipkoech Ngetich tells the High Court that police engage in corruption on the Nakuru-Kericho highway.

Mr Kipkoech, formerly a member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) council and ex-chairperson of the Rift Valley LSK branch, accuses the police of illegally arresting, detaining and prosecuting motorists on malicious charges.

He says officers flag down motorists at various spots, including Salgaa and Kedowa, for allegedly driving above the speed limit.

Mr Kipkoech claims there are no visible road signs showing the speed limit at the spots where police flag down motorists and demand bribes while threatening to arrest and prosecute them.

He says the areas have a speed limit only at the beginning with no other signage to show the end of the limit.

Mr Kipkoech claims to have been flagged down twice during his trips between Nakuru and Kericho. He says he was arrested, tortured, detained and charged in courts in Molo for driving above 50kmh.

He cites one incident on December 19, 2020 when he was flagged down by officers in the Mau Tea area in Kedowa and detained for two hours for driving above 50kmh.

He says he was ferrying a bride and her parents and had to leave behind his driving licence until the following day.

In the second incident, in June this year, he was flagged down in the Sobea area of Salgaa on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway for allegedly driving above the speed limit.

He says he was rushing to attend a court matter at the Kericho courthouse, and that errand was delayed by the police.

The lawyer says the speed signs only appeared at the beginning of the zone but the end was not indicated.

“I took time explaining to the officers why no offence had been committed as there was no signpost signalling the end of the 50km/hr mark from Sobea to Salgaa. I was released after mounting a long argument, but I arrived late at the Kericho law courts," he says.

He argues that the police are arresting motorists illegally, detaining and maliciously prosecuting those who decline to yield to their demands for bribes.

Mr Kipkoech wants compensation for the alleged violation of his rights.

He also wants the court to declare that the arresting, detention and prosecution of motorists on the basis that they exceeded the 50kmh speed limit in Sobea and Salgaa are illegal, null and void.

He wants the court to bar the police from enforcing the speed regulation at those points.

He also wants the court to direct the Inspector-General of Police to investigate similar cases across the country within six months and ensure they comply with the law.

The IG, the NPS and the Attorney-General are named as respondents.

The Kenya National Highways Authority, the Chief Justice and the Law Society of Kenya are listed as interested parties.

The court directed the sued parties to file their responses within 14 days.

The matter will be mentioned on October 12 for directions.