DPP wants death sentence for officer involved in Ksh15M violent robbery

DPP wants death sentence for officer involved in Ksh15M violent robbery

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has urged a Nairobi court to hand down the death sentence to a police officer who colluded with a thug to rob a cashier of over Ksh15 million at gunpoint at Mitsumi Business Park in Parklands.

The DPP, through state prosecutor James Gachoka, asked Milimani Chief Magistrate Bernard Ochoi to impose the maximum sentence for the charge of robbery with violence on Corporal George Onyango Mtere, attached to Ruiru police station, and his co-accused Bernard Ogutu Okech.

“The aggravating circumstances surrounding the robbery leave the court with no other alternative but to impose the mandatory death sentence on the former police officer Onyango and Ogutu, whom the court convicted for the capital offence,” Gachoka urged.

The prosecutor said a gun was used to instil fear and compel the victim, Daksha Patel, an employee of Mitsumi Computer Garage and a cashier based at Mitsumi Business Park, to drop the bag containing USD 150,000 (Ksh15.9 million according to the average exchange rate of Ksh106 in 2020) on the material day.

“We have proved all the ingredients of the robbery with violence, that Corporal Onyango was armed with an offensive or dangerous weapon, namely a gun, and he was in the company of Ogutu, who was also armed and used force and violence at the time of the robbery. We, therefore, urge you to impose the death penalty on them,” Gachoka stated.

He added that the convicts caused psychological trauma to the victims during the commission of the offence, and thus their acts beckon the harsh penalty.

Gachoka opposed a request by the convicts for non-custodial sentences, arguing they were not suitable candidates for being allowed back into the community.

The convicts, through lawyer Gordon Ogado, urged the court to exercise mercy because the community was willing to accept them back and help them rehabilitate.

Onyango begged for mercy, saying he served the country for 25 years as a police officer and had no previous criminal record or disciplinary action from his employer.

He told the court that he has a terminal health challenge which requires continuous medical review and that the prison authority does not encourage custodial terms for persons who are terminally ill.

“I urge the court to grant me a non-custodial sentence as I am willing to serve the community by encouraging the young and police force to shun crime. I will also engage in youth mentoring by preaching in the church,” Onyango told Ochoi.

While finding the two guilty, Ochoi noted in his decision that the victim of the robbery, Daksha Patel, positively identified officer Onyango and his accomplice Ogutu as the robbers of her handbag at gunpoint inside a lift as she left the building.

Patel was accosted by the two attackers, both armed with pistols, as she headed to a bank to deposit the money, and robbed of her handbag, laptop, and mobile phone.

“The gunmen confronted me and others in the lift as we were getting out, one man brandishing a gun asked me to release the backpack I was carrying, but I hesitated, and Corporal Onyango grabbed the bag which had the money, and the two walked away,” Patel testified.

“I find that the evidence of Patel was corroborated by the CCTV footage that was played in court,” Ochoi said.

The Magistrate also convicted three employees working at Mitsumi Business Park, namely Albert Oketch Ochola, who is the plumber at the building, Wycliffe Marani, who is the electrician, and Walter Kiverenge Indimali, who is the caretaker and supervisor at the building, for organizing the robbery and bringing in officer Onyango and Ogutu to rob Patel.

Prosecutor’s evidence
According to the evidence tendered in court, the three, who were conducting repairs at the building, knew she handled huge sums of money in her bag, having monitored her movements for several days before the fateful day.

A police officer attached to DCI Parklands who testified in the case revealed to the court that the robbery was a well-planned plot that involved the building’s staff and the robbers.

CCTV footage played in court showed that the officer and his accomplice, while in communication with three employees, remained at the building for about three hours and 40 minutes as they waited for the right time to strike.

The court was informed that the five suspects following the successful robbery incident on December 7, 2020, all met and shared the loot where officer Onyango, who was on annual leave, immediately left Nairobi and travelled to his rural village in Ndori, Bondo Sub-County.

The prosecution, through the investigation officer, informed the court that apart from the robbers being identified through the CCTV footage, some of the stolen money from Patel was recovered from the suspects.

At Oketch’s residence in Huruma estate, the police recovered $10,000 (Ksh1.1 million) and a speaker.

They then proceeded to Kiverenge’s house in Kangemi where $12,300 (Ksh13.5 million), which had been concealed inside an electric tester, was allegedly recovered.

In Kawangware’s Congo area, at the residence of Marani, police recovered $11,000 (Ksh1.2 million).

In his judgment, the magistrate said that all the accused save for officer Onyango admitted that they were found with the said money but stated that the money was their personal property which they asked the court to order release to them. The money was in 100 notes of US Dollars.

In convicting the three employees of the offence of being in possession of stolen property, Ochoi said that they could not explain the possession of the money recovered in their houses.

Magistrate Ochoi will deliver the sentence on Thursday, April 17, 2024.

By K24

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