A court rejected corruption charges drafted against a senior police officer on technicalities, and set him free, after resisting what it termed a veiled attempt to sanitise an illegality and shove the case file down its throat.

Proceedings in the case the Kabete DCIO Henry Ngugi Njeru alias Patrick Henry Ngugi Douglas, who was represented in court by veteran criminal lawyer Cliff Ombeta, were shelved after it emerged the charges against Ngugi were drafted under a repealed section of the law.

Impugned section

Trial magistrate Lawrence Mugambi overruled the prosecution and ordered the suspect “discharged” with a rider to the prosecution of attempting to dictate the case.

“Charges are drafted under(sic) a section that was repealed on November 5 2016…the new bribery act came into effect on January 13 2017,” the magistrate said in reference to the present charges.

Kabete DCIO Henry Ngugi in a Nairobi court: The senior officer says he once declined a Ksh2 million bribe from Al-Shabaab…

The magistrate ruled that ” any investigations by a prosecuting institution before commencement of the Act shall be modified or be treated  as instituted under the impugned section.”

He explained that if investigations were conducted under the old Act, before the repeal was completed and the new act takes over,  such charges must reflect the spirit of the new act and not “old provisions.”

He said on those grounds he “declines to accept the charges” and “discharged” Ngugi.

Robbery and rape

Ngugi had been with three counts of corruptly soliciting a bribe of Ksh50,000 from James Wachaga Kamau as an inducement so as to release a camera which he had seized from the said James Wachaga and detained in his office at Kabate police division.

The offence was committed on November 5 2016.

He was also charged with failing to record a complaint in the police occurrence book on November 1 2016 at Kabate, Kiambu county after he seized the camera from Wachaga on allegations of investigating the commission of an offence.

The camera had been seized after the officer noticed a photographer taking his pictures after a court session in Kiambu in a robbery and rape case.