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City judge stops Maina Wanjigi’s firearm case

Former Cabinet minister James Maina Wanjigi will not appear before a Nyeri court to plead to a charge of failing to secure his firearm.

He had been summoned, but his lawyer Kiogora Mugambi appeared on his behalf and told Nyeri chief magistrate Wendy Kagendo that Mr Maina was unwell and was recovering from a surgery done three weeks ago in the UK.

The retired politician, who is father of businessman Jimi Wanjigi, also had his lawyers in Nairobi on Monday argue before the High Court that he had an arguable case and needed not travel to Nyeri to answer to the charge.

Justice Roselyn Aburili agreed with Mr Wanjigi’s lawyers John Khaminwa and Nelson Havi that he had established a case with a likelihood of success.

Justice Aburili directed the lawyers to file the main case within 14 days and serve it upon the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General and the Nyeri chief magistrate.

SERIOUS ISSUES

While stopping the proceedings, the judge said the case raised serious issues of jurisdiction.

“In my humble view, the applicant has satisfied this court that he has an arguable case. The proceedings before the magistrate court in Nyeri is hereby stayed until further orders of this court,” she said and directed the case to be mentioned on April 10 to confirm compliance and further directions.

Through Dr Khaminwa, the former minister said he was ailing and the requirement that he appears before a Nyeri court, while he resides in Nairobi, would amount to harassment.

The lawyer said the gun the 87-year-old is accused of failing to secure was seized from him on October 17, 2017, when police raided his son’s home in Muthaiga.

Mr Wanjigi said he moved to the High Court and obtained orders requiring IG Joseph Boinett to return the firearm, but to date, it is yet to be returned.

He added that the police waylaid Jimi on February 28, at about 4.30pm and stopped him at Museum Hill Road over the same gun.

Jimi, added the former minister, was required to appear before a Nyeri court to face similar charges but he obtained orders stopping the proceedings.

AILING

“The applicant is an ailing older member of the society and should not be treated to the harassment meted to him and his family by the State, but should instead, be left to live the remainder of his life in dignity and respect and be free from abuse, in accordance with the provisions of Article 57 (c) of the Constitution,” Mr Havi said.

Mr Wanjigi had been summoned before the Nyeri court by the police through the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on March 1.

Mr Mugambi told the court that the retired politician “is not in a position to take plea for close to the next six months. He cannot even be transported to the court because of his health.”

The lawyer had further asked the court to direct the prosecution to supply him with a copy of the charge sheet as he urged the court to defer the plea until Mr Wanjigi recovers.

However, State counsel Wesley Nyamache told the court that the six months sought by the lawyer was too long, noting that the lawyer did not have medical documents to back his claim.

He further disclosed that the DPP had moved to the High Court seeking to quash orders that stopped prosecution of Jimi Wanjigi. The magistrate directed the lawyer to produce Mr Wanjigi’s medical documents on March 15, when the case will be mentioned.

In the same court, advocate Memba Muriuki was summoned over claims of selling arms to Jimi.