Court acquits man charged over ouster of Unaitas Sacco chair

Alexander Irungu Wanjiru

Mr Alexander Irungu Wanjiru (with handcuffs) at the Milimani Law Courts on May 10, 2021 on the charge of giving false information to police about Mr Joseph Ngaau Kabugu’s academic papers.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A man accused of giving false information to police that allegedly led to the ousting of Unaitas Sacco chairman Joseph Ngaai Kabugu in 2019 has been acquitted by a city court.

Alexander Irungu Wanjiru was cleared of any wrongdoing by senior resident magistrate James Ombugah, who ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against him of giving false information to a person employed in the public service as a police officer.

In acquitting the accused, Mr Ombugah said he (Irungu) should not have been charged in the first instance because Joseph Ngaai Kabugu never complained to the police that the accused was spreading false allegations about his academic qualifications.

Irungu was charged with giving false information to an officer attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Sergeant Sevelina Kalunge, that a Mr Joseph Ngaai Kabugu had forged a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The alleged offence was committed on 28 November 2019.

The charge sheet further stated that Irungu's intention was to cause Sgt Kalunge to use his lawful authority to investigate, arrest and charge the said Joseph Ngaai Kabugu.

The prosecution had stated that Alexander knew that the information he gave about Joseph's forged KCSE was false.

In his ruling, Mr Ombugah said the prosecution adduced evidence that on June 3, 2019 and November 4, 2019, Irungu lodged a complaint with the DCI's Serious Crimes Unit alleging that Joseph had forged a KCSE certificate.

The magistrate noted that evidence adduced in court by an official of the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) was that all certificates of Joseph Ngaai Kabugu were genuine and not forged.

Mr Ombugah said although a complaint was lodged against Alexander, there was no evidence to show that Joseph Ngaai Kabugu was ever charged in court for the allegedly forged certificate.

"There was no court case or charge sheet produced to show that he (Joseph Ngaai Kabugu) was subjected to any trial or court process as a result of the false information given by the accused," the magistrate said.

Ombugah added that Irungu's letters demanded investigations into several allegations of forgery of certificates.

Ombugah said none of the letters were addressed to Joseph Ngaai Kabugu, who was to be investigated.

"Instead of the DCI acting professionally and confidentially without disclosing her source, she turned the whole thing into a saga that now appears to be creating unnecessary controversy between the accused (Alexander) and Joseph," Ombugah said.

The magistrate blasted the DCI, saying it was the reckless behaviour of his officers that sometimes made members of the public afraid to share some vital information with the police to curb crime.

Mr Ombugah ruled that "there was nothing wrong with the investigation that would amount to a criminal offence against Alexander".

He said if the DCI had treated the incident as it deserved, he should have conducted the investigations quietly and then written back to Alexander informing him that the certificates he was complaining about were genuine.

He said the DCI had misunderstood and misapplied the law.

"The alleged Joseph Ngaai Kabugu had not complained that Alexander was spreading false information about him," ruled Ombugah.

He said the police should have raised all these pertinent issues before deciding to charge Alexander.

Ombugah accepted the defendant's defence that he was irregularly charged and that he should be acquitted.

"I find the defence of the accused to be quite reliable and justified against the weak case presented by the prosecution," ruled Ombugah.

The magistrate proceeded to acquit the accused (Irungu) under Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"Having analysed all the evidence and the relevant law, I am satisfied that the prosecution has not proven its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt and I accordingly acquit the accused of the charge under section 215 of the CPC."