Naivasha High Court judge Richard Mwongo on Wednesday jailed Police Constable Evans Maliecha Wiyema for 20 years over a fisherman’s murder in Naivasha.
Maliecha, an Anti-Stock Theft Unit officer, was found guilty of Moses Kinyanjui Wanyoike seven years ago – July 27, 2014.
Sixteen (16) prosecution witnesses testified before the court.
Justice Mwongo, in his judgment, said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Maliecha committed the murder.
He added they the Anti-Stock Theft officer acted recklessly and unjustifiably.
“Given all the foregoing circumstances and my findings, I find and hold that the accused acted recklessly and in violation of the law. His actions were made all the more unacceptable by the fact that he did not report the incident but instead chose to assist in prosecuting the fishermen. His actions do not add up and do not support the defense of self-defense. Ultimately, I find the accused guilty of murder and convict him for the same,” the judge ruled.
He will serve his full prison term, which could be reduced to 10 years with good behavior and after rehabilitation and counseling while in jail.
A probation officer will review his conduct in jail for the next five years.
Kinyanjui’s family was represented by lawyers from International Justice Mission (IJM).
IJM Kenya Country Director Benson Shamala said the ruling is a big statement to rogue police officers.
“Wanyoike is just one of many young men killed in unclear circumstances that show excessive use of force by police officers. We continue demanding accountability for any errant police officer who violates the law.
Additionally, we call for resourcing of IPOA and the Internal Affairs Unit to fast-track cases under investigation. It’s worth noting that Wanyoike’s family had to wait for over five years to get justice,” said Shamala.
Wanyoike was fishing at Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha. He was in the company of two other fishermen on the day he was killed.
The story was that he stole a sheep belonging to the island’s management a day before his death.
Maliecha and a colleague allegedly had gone to pursue suspects when they sighted the three fishermen and shot at them, instantly killing Wanyoike through a bullet to his head.
The officer then charged Wanyoike’s two colleagues with the theft of a sheep valued at Ksh10,000 in a bid to conceal his acts.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) probed the case and forwarded the file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) for Maliecha’s prosecution.