Boda boda rider convicted of forging KDF staff card escapes jail term
A boda boda rider found with a fake military identification card, while purporting it to have been issued by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has gotten a reprieve after the court set him free.
Mr Gabriel Owino had on Friday made a passionate appeal to Principal Magistrate Hellen Okwani at the Makadara Law Courts not to hand him a custodial sentence after he pleaded guilty to charges of making a document without authority contrary to section 357 (a) of the penal code.
Mr Owino had admitted that he made a KDF certificate of appointment along River Road in Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) on an unknown date in February this year.
He also pleaded guilty to charges of being in possession of government stores contrary to section 324 (2) of the penal code.
Possession of government stores is the offence of having items whose use is limited to members of disciplined services including uniforms, handcuffs among others items.
Mr Owino was found with a military identity card belonging to a KDF officer, a Kenya Airforce uniform and a truck suit jacket labeled Defence Forces Technical College (DFTC) all suspected to be stolen or unlawfully obtained from KDF.
He was arrested in Tassia estate in Embakasi within Nairobi on May 20, 2023 following joint investigations by the police, the military intelligence and the military police and was found with the military staff card belonging to a KDF officer.
The next day, Mr Owino led the officers to an area in Ngong, Kajiado County where the fake card bearing his name and picture, a Kenya Airforce uniform and the truck suit belonging to DFTC were recovered and he could not give a proper account of how he came into possession of the items.
Mr Owino told the court that he had worn uniforms belonging to his friend who works with Kenya Airforce when a passport photo of him used in making the forged card was taken.
He had promised the soldier friend that the photo will never appear in public but he later took it to a graphic designer in River Road, who made the fake KDF staff card for him indicating he is a serving with Kenya Airforce holding the rank of a senior private.
The card which was availed before the court as exhibit bears his passport photo and full name.
On the KDF officer’s genuine card he was found with, Mr Owino told Ms Okwani that a Kenya Airforce officer had sent him to his house in Tassia estate to collect the military ID card and an ATM card and try withdraw cash with them at a local bank agent but he failed after the agent’s operator declined to allow him carry out the transaction.
He said he retained the cards belonging to the officer before he later lost the fake one bearing his picture and later learnt that military police were looking for him.
Mr Owino later took some of the items to his friend’s house in Ngong where they were recovered.
He told Ms Okwani that he has been using the fake card for several months which he has been showing Nairobi County government enforcement officers to allow him to ride in CBD and he never committed any crime.
The convict told the court that he has a wife and a child who solely depend on him and sought forgiveness. His wife was in court with the child.
Mr Owino had been in remand since May 22, 2023 when he was charged and pleaded guilty to the charges. Ms Okwani discharged him under section 35 (1) of the penal code and ordered him not to commit any offence within a period of five years.