Tuesday January 8, 2019
Richard Githaga Karanja, the Administration Police officer who was
'rescued' by colleagues from Mandera Police Station, at the Mandera Law
Courts on January 7, 2019. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The Administration Police officer who was dramatically rescued from custody by his colleagues was charged on Monday with robbery with violence and escaping from police custody.
Officer Richard Githaga Karanja denied the charges before Mandera Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Areri.
Mr Karanja allegedly committed the robbery with violence offence, with accomplices, on December 8, 2018.
The court heard that while armed with rifles and other dangerous weapons, they robbed one Mr Muhudin Yussuf Abdullahi of Sh729,000 and killed one Mr Dakane Abdille Abdi.
In the second count, Mr Karanja was charged escaping from police custody on December 13.
Mr Karanja was positively identified during an identification parade organised on the same day .
He was locked up but under the cover of darkness, about 14 officers in the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) stormed Mandera Police Station, the county police headquarters in Mandera town, and freed him.
The unit has since been transferred to Isiolo County.
The next day, the accused was picked by two senior officers from Vigilant House in Nairobi and taken to the Embakasi Police Training College.
He was locked up at Buruburu Police station after three days.
The prosecution, led by State counsel Allen Mulama opposed Mr Karanja's release arguing he was a threat to witnesses.
An affidavit by Mr Johnes Nyangige, an investigation officer, indicated that the accused person’s past conduct and the rescue by his colleagues showed he was a flight risk.
“The strength of the prosecution case, more so with regard to the charge of escape from lawful custody, is enough to give the accused the impetus to flee from the jurisdiction of the court,” reads the affidavit.
“The accused is a threat to witnesses and the victims’ family. They have indicated apprehensiveness to testify owing to the accused person herein as regards to paramilitary training," Mr Mulama added.
Mr Daniel Gachau Mwangi, representing the accused, noted his client was a serving police officer and "just a sacrificial lamb" in both counts.
“My client is not on interdiction for any offence in the police service and other people who committed the alleged crimes are not in court," he said. "This makes him a sacrificial lamb."
The lawyer further questioned why the two senior officers from the police headquarters could not take his client to court on December 14, whisking him to the capital instead.
“He has been cooperative and has remained disciplined in the police force. There is more than meets the eye considering what has happened since he was arrested," Mr Mwangi added.
The court will rule on officer Karanja's bond application on January 18.