Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki has lost his bid to suspend the four-month prison sentence imposed on Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti for contempt of court.
Mr Kariuki wanted Justice Anthony Mrima to suspend the sentence and the imminent arrest of Mr Kinoti pending the determination of his application to set aside orders issued on November 18.
But Justice Mrima declined the request, basing his decision on the kind of orders the AG sought and the history of the dispute.
“Given the nature of orders sought and history of the matter, this court is of the view that any orders will be considered after hearing of the application,” said the judge.
He noted that the AG’s application was filed one day to the lapse of the seven-day window granted for Mr Kinoti to surrender to prison authorities and start serving his sentence.
The court also observed that the AG had withdrawn a notice of appeal lodged on Friday against the sentence so that he could seek a variation and the setting aside of the ruling.
Mr Kinoti was sentenced for disobeying orders dated June 21, 2019 to release seven firearms and ammunition belonging to businessman Jimi Wanjigi.
He is supposed to surrender himself to the head of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison or Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai is to arrest him.
But through lawyer Cecil Miller, the AG says the contempt proceedings were brought against the wrong party as the custody of civilian firearms rests with the Firearms Licensing Board. He says Mr Kinoti does not have any role regarding civilian firearms.
“It is only fair that equitability of the law is extended to the DCI by having the stay of the orders. We have subjected ourselves to this court instead of going to appeal. This court has power to stay. Nothing irregular or illegal with that and the court should exercise that discretion in fairness to the applicant,” Mr Miller said.
Mr Wanjigi, through lawyer Willis Otieno, opposed the AG’s request, saying the stay orders would be prejudicial to him.
“In our affidavit, what we will bring to the attention of the court is the disparaging remarks made by the applicant (DCI) in relation to the court orders,” Mr Otieno said.
The court directed that the application be heard tomorrow (Thursday) at 11.30am.