A government vehicle was impounded on Sunday evening by Kenya Forest Service officers ferrying five tones of rosewood timber at Chepkworniswo along Kitale-Lodwar highway. Two administration police officers and two residents were also arrested in the evening crackdown after they were found ferrying 250 pieces of red rose timber worth Ksh. 2 million.
West Pokot Environment CEC Jack Yaralima said the four were arrested while transporting the timber to an unknown destination using an AP lorry. Yaralima said the police officers removed the back number plate of the vehicle to conceal the identity.
When the press visited the scene they found the lorry had only one number plate, GKB 638F. “It’s wrong for police officers who are supposed to protect and enforce the law to abuse it,” he said.
He said as a County they don’t want a conflict with law enforcers but they won’t allow them to violate the law. He said the police officers were armed with government weapons, protecting private property. “We want to protect our environment and it’s wrong for government officers to use government guns to protect illegal goods,” he said.
Yaralima revealed that after the officers were arrested yesterday, today morning they weren’t in police custody. “The police officers have been released and civilians who were in the vehicle have not been released,” he said.
He also alleged that the occurrence book number had been changed and it seems only the civilians will be arraigned in court. He asked the County Police Commandant to ensure the police officers are arraigned in Court.
Acting North Rift Kenya Forest Services Chief Inspector David Rono said the impounded lorry is at Kapenguria ecosystem conservator office pending investigations
However, West Pokot County Commandant Mathews Kuto said that investigations are ongoing and two other suspects have been arrested.