Confusion over police plan to raid Matiang’i home

Written by on 10 February 2023

Confusion reigned on Wednesday night over the alleged botched raid on former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s Karen residence as the government denied involvement in what was meant to be a police operation.

Yesterday, the saga took a new twist with Matiang’i moving to court under a certificate of urgency seeking protection from alleged imminent arrest while his successor at the Interior Ministry, Kithure Kindiki, dismissed the raid as stage-managed.

The High Court has since barred police from arresting Mating’i pending investigations into abuse of office allegations. Justice Kanyi Kimondo granted Matiang’i an anticipatory bail of Sh200,000 but said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Inspector-General of Police, National Police Service (NPS), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission(EACC), Independent Police Oversight Authority and National Police Service Commission were at liberty to investigate Matiang’i over any criminal conduct.

“Pending the mention, and in the interest of justice, and, for reasons deposed in the affidavit of Fred Okeng’o Matiang’i, sworn on February 9, 2023, Matiang’i be and hereby admitted to anticipatory bail by way of a personal bond of Ksh200,000,” Judge Kimondo said.

Brother’s tweet
However, even as Matiang’i was sighing with relief, the government maintained it was not interested in the former CS.

“No police officer(s) or any security agent from any government institution or department was dispatched to the home of Dr Matiang’i to arrest, harass or otherwise interfere with his constitutional rights in any manner whatsoever,” Kindiki said in a statement sent from Arabal, Baringo County, where he is currently on official duty.

Earlier, the National Police Service (NPS) and EACC had distanced themselves from the alleged raid as Kenyans were guessing about who could have attempted to arrest or harm Mating’i.

On Wednesday night, a John Matiang’i, who claimed to be the former CS’s brother, said on twitter that police had raided Matiang’i’s home in Nairobi.

The tweet prompted Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga to criticise the police. He too used Twitter to announce that he would camp in Matiang’i’s home to thwart any attempt by police to conduct a raid.
“There is no reason why police should be coming to somebody’s home at this hour of the night. If Matiang’i has committed a crime warranting his arrest that should be made public and known to him and he can present himself for interrogation,” said Raila.

Questions raised
The incident has since raised more questions than answers. For example, why was it not captured on any video, CCTV footage and still camera? Did the police arrive at the residence or were there plans to do so that had leaked before they swung into action? Why would the police or EACC intend to carry out a raid on a private residence without a court order? How did Matiang’i and his lawyers become aware that the latter was being investigated over Huduma Namba and Ruaraka primary school land sale? How come opposition chief Raila, for the first time, arrived at the venue alone, without his usual retinue of MPs and left quietly without addressing the media after meeting Matiang’i?

Yesterday morning, Matiang’i lawyers — led by Danstan Omari — moved to the High Court Criminal Division, seeking to have the former CS granted bail on grounds that he feared the police could execute an arbitrary arrest against him and prosecute him for politically instigated offences of abuse office.
Omari said Matiang’i was being targeted over his remarks when he went to console the widow of former Education CS George Magoha.

“That his (Matiang’i’s) woes got worse when he gave a speech at the home of the late Prof Magoha where he shared the lessons that he had learned from the deceased on public service. His security was withdrawn the next day and the impending arrest is part of the scheme to harass and silence him,” Omari told the court.

Bond terms
Matiang’i contended that NPS had demonstrated malicious intent and a clear disregard for the rule of law by abusing the due process as evidenced by the reduction and withdrawal of security officers assigned to him, thereby exposing him to harm despite the sensitive nature of his last post as Cabinet Secretary.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this application inter-partes Dr Fred Mating’i be admitted to anticipatory bail or bond at such reasonable terms and conditions that the Court may deem just and fit in the circumstance,” Omari stated in the court papers.

The former CS also sought orders to stop the six national government institutions including Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Inspector General of Police, NPS, EACC, Independent Police Oversight Authority and National Police Service Commission from arresting and prosecution him with any offence in a court of law.

But Kindiki, while insisting that security agencies remained apolitical and focused on addressing the security challenges that the country is facing, said claims by Matiang’i were erroneous.

“Any person with information relating to the alleged incident at Dr Matiang’i’s home last night is advised to file a formal complaint at the nearest police station for investigations and appropriate action,” Kindiki said.

Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’wa also weighed in on the debate, challenging Matiang’i to provide CCTV footage of the officers who allegedly raided his home.
According to Ichung’wa, the incident was scripted to whip up emotions and invoke public sympathy.

Huduma Namba
On his part, Inspector-General (IG) of Police Japhet Koome distanced himself from the alleged raid, saying the operation had not emanated from the police service.

“There was no raid carried out by any member of NPS (at the home of the former CS Matiang’i). Please, let me be clear on that,” Koome told journalists.

EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak also said his team had nothing to do with the alleged raid.
Sources told People Daily that one of the government agencies could have planned a raid to search for documents related to loss of public funds in the Huduma Namba project and the sale of Ruaraka Primary School land. The agency, however, called off the operation after Matiang’i learned about it.

In his court papers, Matiangi claimed he had received credible information from some unnamed police officers that they were under instructions to arrest him with a view of charging him in court.

“I was informed that the scheme to have me arrested was formulated on January 30, 2023 at the sidelines of the 16th Annual General Meeting and Africa Prosecutors’ Association (APA) Conference held at Mombasa,” the former CS said in his affidavit. “True to their words, on the afternoon of February 8, 2023, my family home in Karen was raided, surrounded and cordoned off by police officers who were seeking to arrest me. The police officers barricaded the entry to my house and only retreated after the media and my advocates arrived.

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