EXHIBITS STOLEN

Heroin case magistrate Kagoni not immune to prosecution - DPP

Says magistrate's failure to make any written directions on storage of exhibits was criminal

In Summary
  • Drug and foreign currency valued at over Sh600,000 were part of exhibits in a criminal case
  • Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association has challenged Kagoni’s prosecution
DPP Noordin Haji.
DPP Noordin Haji.
Image: FILE

The Director of Public Prosecutions has said a Mombasa-based magistrate accused of mishandling 10kg of heroin valued at Sh30 million in a drug trafficking case is not immune from prosecution.

In documents filed in court, prosecution counsel Ngina Mutua says it was reckless for Edgar Kagoni to not make any written directions on how or where to store the exhibit.

The DPP was responding to a case filed by the Kenya Magistrate and Judges Association challenging Kagoni’s prosecution.

The drug and foreign currency valued at over Sh600,000 were part of exhibits in a criminal case in which Huessin Eid was charged with drug trafficking.  

Kagoni convicted Eid and on June 11 last year and sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment and a Sh90 million fine.

The magistrate ordered that the Sh600,000 be returned to Eid.

But the DPP says Kagoni's failure to give written directions on how or where to store the heroin and the foreign currency went against mandatory court procedures.

“Failure by the magistrate to make any written directions as to how or where to store the drugs was criminal in nature and facilitated the theft of the exhibits,” Mutua says.

According to court documents, the heroin was found missing from the store between June 28 and July 26.

Mombasa chief magistrate Evans Makori wrote to the DCI on August 8 to probe reports that the heroin and money had gone missing.

“It’s clear that the manner in which the magistrate handled the exhibits was reckless and it’s because of that that it led to the loss of the said exhibits. Such recklessness of the magistrate amounts to criminal culpability for which he is liable to prosecution,” says Mutua.

The heroin case has since led to court assistants Onesmas Momanyi, Abdala Abubakar and Lawrence Baya being charged with theft.