GUNFIGHT

Kinoti and Wanjigi battle over guns in court

Police say businessman had no justification to arm himself as the county enjoyed relative peace then

In Summary

• Wanjigi wants Kinoti jailed for six months for contempt of court  because weapons were not returned as ordered

• Kinoti says some firearms held by Wanjigi are high-precision military weapons that civilians are not allowed to own.

Businessman Jimi Wanjigi addressing the media at Museum Hill after the Flying Squad tried to arrest him on February 28, 2018.
DROP YOUR GUNS: Businessman Jimi Wanjigi addressing the media at Museum Hill after the Flying Squad tried to arrest him on February 28, 2018.
Image: ENOS TECHE

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and tycoon Jimi  Wanjigi are battling in court over the businessman's guns.

Wanjigi has gone to court demanding Kinoti be compelled to return the firearms seized from his house on October 16, 2017, 10 days before the repeat presidential election. He claims the raid was political.

Kinoti says some of the weapons held by Wanjigi are high-precision military firearms that civilians are prohibited from having. He cites the Firearms Act Cap 114 Laws of Kenya.

 

On the day of the raid, heavily armed police officers dramatically broke into Wanjigi's heavily fortified house in upmarket Muthaiga and recovered seven firearms and 688 rounds of ammunition.

Police called it "a cache that rivals that of some police stations".

"Investigations have revealed that Wanjigi holds more guns which he failed to surrender when ordered by the Firearms Licensing Board in the letter dated 30th January 2018," Inspector Maxwell Otieno says in affidavit filed in court on Wednesday on behalf of Kinoti.

The DCI has told the court Wanjigi has been in possession of both illegal and illegally acquired firearms and therefore poses a danger to the security of the state.

During the operation, the police carted away four Glock pistols, one Smith & Wesson pistol, a Mini Archer assault rifle fitted with a laser, an M4CQ assault rifle and 688 bullets.

"Wanjigi previously served as a police reservist and was sacked for threatening other citizens with the firearm he held," Inspector Otieno said.

In June this year, the businessman filed a contempt suit against Kinoti for disrespecting court orders to the police to release the guns to him.

 

Wanjigi told the court that the Director of Criminal Investigations had been given a six months’ suspended jail term for violating court orders by Justice Chacha Mwita that the guns be returned.

But the DCI in court papers obtained by the Star says Wanjigi cannot lay claim to the guns as his firearms certificate was revoked.

Calling the contempt suit  malicious, the police said two of the guns – the Mini Archer and the .223 CQ – that Wanjigi wants returned are prohibited in Kenya.

“The two firearms were subjected to ballistics examination and a report by the DCI confirmed that they were prohibited,” Otieno said.

The police also state that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions appealed the June 2019 ruling that granted the businessman orders to take back his guns.

They also said the businessman is yet to undergo the fresh vetting required of firearms holders as was ordered by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.

Through an affidavit by Inspector Otieno sworn on September 10, the DCI said the Firearms Act provides that any aggrieved gun holder should appeal to the Cabinet Secretary of the Interior.

The police are further questioning how Wanjigi renewed his firearms certificate after he was disarmed, then serving as a police reservist.

“He was sacked due to threatening other citizens with the firearm he held and was stripped of the same.

“However, he later under unexplained circumstances, gained his firearm back and has been holding the same alongside other prohibited firearms,” Otieno said.

He faulted Wanjigi’s move to the High Court after he was directed to surrender the weapons to the Firearms Licensing Board.

“The Act states that any person aggrieved by the revocation of a firearms certificate may appeal to the minister, whose decision shall be final,” Otieno said.

The police say, “It is interesting that Wanjigi doesn’t want to subject himself to the requirements of the Act after his certificate was revoked."

They add, "Holding a gun is not a constitutional right but a privilege.”

Wanjigi is not under any threat, is staying in a secure area, drives in armored vehicles, hence, he has no justification to arm himself unless for ulterior motives, police say.

The DCI cited Justice George Odunga’s ruling that said "to compel the police to return a firearm without the applicant’s license being renewed would amount to making the police commit illegality."

Otieno added that Kinoti has no capacity in law to revoke a firearm certificate but can only deal with firearms that are exhibits.

The Smith & Wesson pistol is a self-defence semi-automatic handgun while the Mini Archer assault rifle is a Polish-made automatic gun.

The .223 CQ is popular for hunting and self-defence while the Glock 19 is a lower version of the Glock, mostly used by officers in law enforcement.  

(Edited by V. Graham)