Most of the victims continue to live in squalor despite courts awarding them millions in compensation
In the eye of the courts, they are potential millionaires deserving compensation for police brutality or wrongful prosecutions,but in reality they live in squalor, living hand to mouth and in pain.
Despite the surge in the clamour for justice for these victims of police brutality, they remain millionaires only paper only as millions of shillings in court-awarded compensation remain unpaid, condemning them to continued suffering.
According to conservative figures from the International Justice Mission, some of its clients are worth more than Sh10 million on paper but may never benefit as their long wait is made more difficult by the injuries or deaths of loved ones. IJM is a lobby that pursues justice for victims of police brutality.
Likewise, the Independent Medico-Lego Unit, another lobby, says nine clients have been awarded to Sh19 million for police brutality but have never been paid.
Some cases date back to 2011.
David Makara’s arm had to be amputated after being shot by police in the early 2000s. The court eventually awarded him Sh860,000 compensation. He has waited for five years to receive the funds from the state. To him, even if the officer who shot his right arm multiple times were to be arraigned many times over, justice remains a pipe dream.
John Atelu and Collins Ouma, who spent more than a year in jail pending their prosecution for robbery with violence in 2013, sued the state for false charges. Two state witnesses against them had revealed to the prosecutors they knew who the real robbers were — they were not Atelu and Ouma. The prosecution, however, did not discharge the two, despite the evidence justifying acquittal.
Ouma and Atelo later sued and in 2017 were awarded more than Sh6 million in compensations. Three years on, they remain paupers.
Musili Mwendwa was arrested on February 27, 2011, when he went to a police station in Nairobi to ask why his friend, Maria Mukiri, had been arrested. They were both charged in March 2011 wth robbery with violence.
Unable to raise bail, they remained in jail for a year and eight months. They were acquitted in December 2012.
Though Mukiri later died, Mwendwa sued the state for malicious prosecution and the High Court awarded him more than Sh2 million in compensation in 2016. He has not been paid.
This is despite countless letters to the AG, who should process the payments.
Chief Justice David Maraga is the latest high-ranking state official to have protested the long wait the victims endure while waiting for their just due.
“Given the reluctance of the police to pay up, our clients through IJM have to once again invoke a court process, namely Judicial Review, to compel the PS Interior to pay what is due and owed.
“The PS of Interior, who is the Accounting Officer in matters revolving around the Police budget will, through Judicial Review orders, be compelled to pay – out of the funds provided by Parliament- a debt held to be due by the High Court,” IJM told the Star.