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How police and water officers conspired to harass one Nairobi woman

Exactly two week ago, Administration police officers stormed the home of Ms Josephine Achieng, assaulted her as her two children watched in dismay.

when the scene turned ugly, neighbours stepped in to intervene. This incident has been revealed by a statement recorded at Buruburu Police Station under OB number 98/4/11/19.

WATER BILL

However, before Achieng could make the report she was taken in circles, as police officers moved her from one police station to another, perhaps to intimidate her from seeking justice.

She was even threatened to stop pursuing the matter, but she insisted.

The police boss at Umoja 1 Police Station Mr Raphael Maroa told Nairobi News that the woman seemed to have ‘mental issues’.

“From being the complainant, I ended being accused of stealing my own phone from Umoja 1 Police Post by an officer who I had entrusted and believed would assist me,” Ms Achieng told Nairobi News.

The Nairobi News has for the last one week followed up the matter which implicates Police officers in Buruburu and Umoja police stations in a deliberate effort to deny Ms Achieng justice.

Ms Achieng had on November 4, 2019, differed with a group of officials attached to the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) after they demanded to block the sewage of a building that she lives in.

Reason? The landlord was allegedly taking them in circles and had outstanding water bill arrears.

“They knocked on my door and demanded the keys to the washrooms but I refused. I instead told them to deal with the landlord since I had paid my rent on time,” she said.

The officers would hear none of it and promised to come back and “deal with her later.”

The NCWSC officers later returned with two Administration police officers who also demanded to get the keys to the washroom. It when she refused to hand over the keys that things turned ugly.

CONFISCATED PHONE

“A heated exchange ensued as the female officer identified as Beatrice Mwangi abused me in front of my kids. She also fought me and pulled down a towel that I was wearing without minding about the baby I was carrying in my hands,” Achieng told Nairobi News.

According to the AP officer, they were called as reinforcement by the officials from the NCWSC.

“The lady was obstructing the officers from doing their work and we were called in to help the situation,” said Beatrice the female AP officer.

But Achieng says she only picked her phone to call for help after the harassment by Beatrice.

“I then opted to pick my phone and make a call so that I could get help. As I was scrolling through the contact list, the female officer took the phone and accused me of recording her,” she added.

Achieng says the NCWSC officials and the police officers left in a haste without handing her back the phone which lead to a two-day interaction with the police who Achieng says gave her a hard time and completely made her lose the trust she had for police officers.

“She was so dramatic, she took her phone and started recording us so I took the phone and we left,” said Beatrice.

As the officers sped off inside a county vehicle car, her neighbours who witnessed the incident advised her to make a follow-up and demand back her phone.

For two days she spent money and her time in an effort to get back her phone which had unlawfully taken from her.

“I first went to Buruburu Police Station where I learned that the officer who took my phone was attached to the station. After narrating my ordeal I was told to report the matter to Umoja 1 Police Post” she said.

PURSUING THE PHONE

Achieng then went to the station where she found Mr Raphael Maroa who promised her that he would do all it takes to ensure that he gets her phone back.

“The lady gave me Beatrice’s number and I confirmed that indeed she had taken the phone from Ms Achieng and took it to Umoja 2 Police Post,” said Mr Maroa.

Together with Mr Maroa, they left for Umoja 2 Police Post where the phone was. Mr Maroa handed the phone back to Achieng and together they left for Umoja 1.

Here she was asked to pay the taxi driver who had taken them to Umoja 2 Police Station. She parted with Sh 400.

“Getting my phone back wasn’t enough. I wanted to press charges against the lady officers who assaulted me but Mr Maroa advised me not to pursue the matter, saying that I was even lucky to have gotten the phone back,” she told Nairobi News.

But when she insisted, Mr Maroa took back the phone, dismissed her and told her to go and make a report at Buruburu Police Station.

“I told her to go home now she had the phone but the lady insisted on reporting the police officer. I asked her to hand over the phone if she indeed wanted to pursue the matter further because the phone would be part of the case,” said Maroa.

Before she left, Achieng asked for her phone back to write down a few contacts. She struggled to insert her sim card which she had removed earlier but release the Simcard holder had been damaged. So she left with the phone to BuruBuru Police Station.

She was accompanied by her sister to BuruBuru where she found the lady officer who had assaulted her.

She proceeded to the OB desk to file the report but the officer on duty allegedly ignored her forcing her to walk straight to the office of the OCS.

“The OCS who summoned the officer and her colleague. We all agreed that I could join them, go back to Umoja 1 Police Post and make the report,” she said.

LOCKED UP

On their way to Umoja 1 Police Post, the two officers allegedly started threatening them, saying that they would teach them a lesson.

She said they were taken to the Chief’s office in Umoja 2 where the officers made a few calls as they went on threatening them before leaving with them to Umoja 1 Police Post.

As soon as they arrived at the station, Mr Maroa stormed from his office and allegedly accused them of stealing her mobile phone from his office.

Achieng was immediately placed in police custody.

“The lady had asked for her phone to write down a few contacts but she took the phone and went with it without informing me. This is after she decided to pursue the case against the officer and I asked her to return the phone,” Maroa said.

Achieng said that she was locked up at the police post for hours and only released at around 10pm after parting with Sh2,000.

“The only money I asked the lady was for the taxi and she paid. We took a taxi because there was no vehicle at the station at the time she needed help,” said Maroa.

Achieng says that the officers told her that they had decided to forgive her since they did not want her to suffer yet she had a small child.

“We released her after her pastor pleaded with us saying she is an orphan and had a small child to take care of. I’m not a doctor but from how she looked she had mental issues and the pastor confirmed that she is suffering from depression,” Maroa said.

This traumatic experience has left Achieng habouring so much bitterness against the police.

“I have never gotten justice and anytime I think about what transpired I just hate the police,” Achieng said.

“Are the police above the law?” she wonders.