Mombasa principal magistrate, 4 others arrested after heroin exhibits 'disappear' from court

In Summary

• He was arrested following disappearance of 10kg of heroin.

The Mombasa Law Court.
The Mombasa Law Court.
Image: FILE

A magistrate and four other court officials have been arrested for mishandling of narcotics evidence in a Mombasa Court.

Principle Magistrate Edgar Matsigulu Kagoni was arrested by DCI officers and is being held at Kilindini Police Station.

He was arrested over controversial disappearance of 10kg of heroin valued at Sh30 million at the court in July.

According to DCI, the magistrate faces charges of obstruction with intent to defeat justice and aiding and abetting trafficking in narcotic drugs.

Coast DCI boss Washington Njiiru confirmed the arrests saying that, "We know what they have done to Kenyans."

Others arrested include Abdalla Awadh Abubakar, an executive assistant at Mombasa Law Courts, who is held at Makupa Police Station and Lawrence Thoya Bayan, a support staff at the court booked at Nyali Police Station.

Onesmus Miinda Momanyi, a court assistant at Ruiru law court is being held at ICD police station, Nairobi.

The three court officials officials face charges of "stealing by person in Public Service contrary to section 286 as read with section 280 of the Penal Code in relation to the 10.022 kilograms of heroine valued at Sh30 million and cash valued at over Sh600,000,” according to Director of Public Prosecutions.

A press statement from DPP indicates that the Chief Magistrate Evans Makori wrote DCI regarding reckless mishandling of exhibits in criminal case No 416/2018 Republic Verses Hussein Massoud Eid and two others, a case which was presided over by Kagoni.

Investigations officer CPL Mjomba had orally requested the court to keep the narcotics in police custody since the heroin was in large quantity.

“The magistrate did not grant investigating officer his prayers to retain the drugs in police safe custody and did not make any written order on how and where to store the exhibits which contradicted F(65) and 68(a)as required in the registry manual which requires the court to give orders for appropriate storage of exhibits,” reads part of DPP’s press statement.

Kagoni then allowed court assistant Momanyi to take control of the exhibits on December 4, 2018 at the exhibit register the same exhibits to the store the day after.

On June 11, 2019, Kagoni sentenced the suspect Eid to 30 years in prison with a fine of Sh90 million.

He consequently ordered Sh600,000 returned to the convict hence breaching sections 36 and 78 of the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act No 4 of 1994 that required forfeiture of the seized property upon conviction.

The DPP further notes the money and the drugs exhibits where found to be missing on diverse dates between June 28 and July 26, prompting the chief magistrate to lodge a complaint to the Mombasa-based Coast DCI headquarters.

The four are latest to be arrested in the war on drugs crackdown in Coast which has so far seen scores of drugs networks leaders held and kilograms of bhang, heroin and cocaine nabbed.

"We will turn things upside down to unearth even those among security apparatus and highly placed state officials that have been shielding drug traffickers," Matiang'i said last month.