George Kinoti: I would rather go to jail than return Jimi Wanjigi guns

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti has said he would rather go to jail than obey a court order compelling him to return guns seized from tycoon Jimi Wanjigi.

He has also denied reports that he has instructed a law firm to file an appeal against the order.

  With the seven-day countdown to surrender to Kamiti Maximum Prison to serve a four-month sentence beginning on Thursday when he was convicted for contempt of court, Mr Kinoti insisted the punishment is based on flawed proceedings. He argued that the Firearm Licensing Board on January 31, 2018 revoked Mr Wanjigi’s license and therefore he is not allowed to own a firearm until the permit is reinstated. The DCI boss further stated that he is not the custodian of guns and can therefore not give back what is not in his possession.

“The petitioner and the judge know it’s the board that is the custodian of civilian firearms. But instead of the court asking the right authority, they turn to Kinoti. What is the nexus between the DCI and the person whose license was revoked? The DCI, even if he is jailed for 100 years, can’t give Wanjigi firearms he doesn’t have,” Mr Kinoti said.

He added: “Even if the DCI had the firearms, and gave them back to Wanjigi, he would be breaking the law as the license to have the guns has been revoked. Some of the guns confiscated during the raid are prohibited firearms as they belong to special forces. Why would a judge order that such be returned to a civilian?” Mr Kinoti posed.

“The court should have reprimanded Wanjigi instead. Moreover, there was no evidence to show that Wanjigi had appealed, in accordance with the law, to have the license… reinstated. I am ready to go to jail,” he said.

Asked by Sunday Nation whether he will appeal against the sentence, Mr Kinoti replied: “The AG will handle that matter.”

In a statement released last night, the DCI disowned an application filed by Owino McDowells & Co Advocates at the High Court.

“It has come to the attention of the Director of Criminal Investigations that a case, namely HCJR 163/2021 has been filed on his behalf... This is to make it very clear that the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has not instructed anybody to file a suit on his behalf or on behalf of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations,” the statement reads in part.

“As such, the case is disowned in totality by the Director and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations,” it continued.

The application, which is slated to be mentioned tomorrow at 2.30p.m before Justice Anthony Ndung’u, was filed on Thursday hours after the sentencing of Mr Kinoti. It was certified urgent and the advocate sought a stay of the orders pending the hearing and determination of the application.

The disowned application seeks to stop Mr Kinoti’s imminent arrest by the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.

The disowned court papers further indicate that the DCI boss is willing to pay a fine of Sh200,000 or its equivalent instead of the custodial sentence issued as he is currently involved in several national investigations for the security purposes of the country.

In his sentencing of Mr Kinoti, High Court Judge Antony Mrima questioned why since Justice Chacha Mwita in June 2019 ordered the return of the guns to Mr Wanjigi, the State never bothered to have the implementation of the judgment suspended.

It was not until one year later in September last year, when Mr Wanjigi and his wife sought to enforce the judgment by filing the contempt proceedings against Mr Kinoti that action was taken.

 Additional reporting by Joseph Wangui 

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