Kenya: Cops involved in (Journalist) Arshad Sharif’s killing back at jobs without any accountability


LONDON/NAIROBI: The five Kenyan police officers, who were involved in the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, have quietly resumed their official duties without any action being taken against them, according to an investigation by The News and Geo.

Nine months after the killing of Arshad Sharif at a roadblock in a remote part of the East African country, the five police officers involved in the brutal killing are enjoying full police perks and their suspensions have turned out to be only a whitewash by the Kenyan authorities.

A trusted security source said the five cops involved in the fatal shootout are back to work and two of them have been promoted to senior ranks.

Kenya’s Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA), the body that is tasked with investigating the conduct of police officers, despite making a promise to give an update on Arshad Sharif’s murder within weeks, has not made its findings public in over nine months.

“We shall give an update on the matter once we are done with the investigations,” the IPOA said in a statement when asked about the matter by these reporters. IPOA spokesman refused to give a timescale and didn’t respond to the question why the watchdog has taken so long and why the police officers are back at their jobs without any accountability.

It is worth noting that IPOA had already handed over its file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) but it was returned and they were asked to fill some gaps before the prosecution process kicks off.

Investigations into the murder of Arshad Sharif seem to have gone silent in the East African country, according to our probe.

It has been established that Kevin Kimuyu Mutuku, a police officer attached to the General Service Unit (GSU) who was allegedly shot at the scene of crime where Arshsf Sharif was killed, went back to work immediately after he was released from hospital. He had claimed that he suffered a gunshot when bullets were fired from inside Arshad Sharif’s vehicle but the forensic investigation showed he was lying.

Arshad Sharif had arrived in the Kenyan capital on August 20 and died on October 23 in a shootout in which Khurram Ahmad survived miraculously. The 49-year-old journalist had fled Pakistan in August to avoid arrest after he was slapped with several cases including sedition charges over an interview with Shahbaz Gill, a former aide of Imran Khan. After reaching Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Arshad Sharif stayed at the Riverside penthouse of Karachi businessman Waqar Ahmad whose brother Khurram Ahmad was driving him when he was killed.

The celebrated journalist was being driven from Ammodump Kwenia training camp, a joint which is owned by Khuram Ahmad’s brother Waqar Ahmed and they were heading to Nairobi County where he was staying.

A trusted senior Kenya intelligence source, who spoke in confidence, said that the National Police Service (NPS) in Kenya had gone slow on the investigation of Arshad Sharif because it involved its members and the body allowed to carry out such investigations was IPOA.

“The police cannot investigate themselves and for that matter IPOA is expected to issue their findings. However, the police also have their own file on the same matter just in case,” said the sleuth who has been involved in the probe and has internal details of the matter.

Kenya’s Human Rights Commission member Martin Mavenjina said in an interview for this article that it was already clear that the National Police Service in Kenya was not interested in investigating the matter. He said the investigation process had taken a lot of time which is the norm whenever the police are not interested in pursuing something to the end.

“Unfortunately, Kenya does not have a law that gives police officers timelines whenever they are doing an investigation. When Arshad Sharif died, things looked promising that the police would take action and find facts until they just came to a halt and everything went silent from the Kenyan side,” he said.

According to Mavenjina, since the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had a new boss, he expected that the matter would be pursued but in vain.

He said it was very clear that the family of Arshad Sharif might end up not getting justice as per how things were being handled.

Mavenjina also said that there was a lack of good political will in assisting Arshad’s family to get justice.

“We have already learnt that the deceased was an outspoken journalist. He was loved and hated on equal measure. If there was a positive political goodwill, then automatically the investigations by now could have been concluded,” he added.

It has also emerged that the family of Waqar Ahmed and Khurram Ahmed had already demanded to be given back their motor vehicle of registration number KDG 200M, in which the journalist died.

A family member based in Kenya shared that the process of getting the Toyota Landcruiser back was already at an advanced stage.

“Soon the family will be handed back its vehicle because they have already reached out to the officers in charge of Kiserian police station where the vehicle has been parked ever since the incident took place,” the family member, who spoke in confidence due to the sensitivity of the matter, said.

It has also been established that the police also conducted a parallel investigation on the same but the findings have never been shared publicly.

“The police investigations are on hold for now,” Kennedy Kirwai, the investigating officer in the case, said.

For proceedings of Arshad Sharif’s case inside Pakistan, Arshad Sharif’s family has instructed the former Islamabad High Court judge Shaukat Siddiqui to take up the slain journalist’s case for justice. The respected advocate said that although Kenya is Pakistan’s friendly country, “but I must say that in the investigation of the brutal murder of journalist Arshad Sharif, Kenyan authorities did not cooperate in accordance with the sensitivity of the crime.”

Shaukat Siddiqui said: “I have no doubt in my mind that Kenyan Police were privy to this planned murder. It is so painful for the family of Arshad Sharif that even those officials who played the role of hired assassins have been let free and brought back to their ranks. Unfortunately, due to non-cooperation and having over two suspects of Pakistani origin, investigation of the case has badly been jeopardized. In my opinion, now is the time for the government of Pakistan to take up the matter with the United Nations.”

Both Khurram and Waqar have denied any involvement in Arshad Sharif’s murder. They remain in Kenya and have not returned to Pakistan ever since the killing of Arshad Sharif.

Caretaker premier Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar will visit Kenya next month on the invitation of Kenyan President Dr William Samoei Ruto. He will be accompanied by caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and other cabinet members and advisers.__The News