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Probe into Sh 334 million Exhibits Theft Thickens

A Kiambu court has granted police request to extend the  detention of  the eighth suspect in connection to the theft of exhibits worth 334 million shillings from African Spirits Limited (ASL) in Thika.

Kiambu Senior Resident Magistrate (SRM) Ms. Grace Omodho  allowed plea from  Inspector Joseph Ngewa from Kiambu Police station to hold Gadson Mwangi Kamau in custody for more days at Kahawa sukari police station pending completion of his investigations.

The suspect was arrested on Saturday after he was linked to a motor vehicle which was intercepted packed with the alleged missing goods that were believed to be part of the exhibits stolen from the factory where the KRA and DCI officials had  seized and secured for further action.

The officer told Kiambu SRM that the motor vehicle Reg No.KBX 827S Toyota Noah which was packed with 117 cartons of blue star alcohol affixed with counterfeit stamps. That the seized stamps  and alcohol were part of the stored exhibits reportedly stolen from Africa Spirits limited premises an area that had been declared a scene of crime and kept under police watch since 4th February 2019.

He told the magistrate that the suspect was the in-charge at the Cystal World Agencies manufacturing blue star spirits.

He says he believes that the suspect is part of a wider syndicate which a team of 32 officers are pursuing and that the investigations were at an advanced stage. “If the court releases him, he will escape or will interfere with investigations before we can apprehended his other accomplices” said the officer.

Ngewa says the investigators are yet to interrogate the involvement of the respondent in the said offence owing to his critical function in the operations of the company before preferring charges accordingly.

The investigator told the court that the respondent switched off his known mobile phone, thus making it difficult to the officers to effect his arrest.

“He fled to Nakuru after he got wind that his friends had been arrested and we only managed to arrest him when he returned to Nairobi” he told the court. The investigator had applied to be given 7 days but after the indulgence of the suspect, the court reduced it to 5 days and ruled that he be arraigned in court on Friday July 24th.

A fortnight ago, another court released Caroline Njoki Kuria on a 10 million bond with a surety of a similar amount. Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo released her on account that she was diabetic and that her medicine was to be refrigerated from proximity of where she could use it as prescribed by her doctor.

Facilities like fridges are not available to people remanded at police stations, therefore making it necessary for her defence lawyer Christopher Kabugu to press for her release as police completed their investigations.

Caroline Njoki Kuria is the owner of the said motor vehicle in the case and it was impounded in Embu County while ferrying the said exhibits believed to have been stolen from the scene of a crime in a case at Milimani law courts.

Ms Omodho is the duty magistrate this week following the reopening of the courts after closure necessitated by the Corona Pandemic.

By Lydia Shiloya

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