“My experience in the cells” by Mayur Shah – Alcoblow and the law

Posted on February 1st, 2014
Categories: News

dont drink and drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

“STATE HOUSE VISIT (CELL)

Wednesday 29th January, 2014

To my family, friends and colleagues.

“In a day, when you don’t come across any problems, you can be sure that you are traveling in a wrong path.”

This is in reference to my personal experience with the “alcoblow” team.   Others may differ with it but this is just my opinion, knowledge and experience.

At around 11.15pm on Saturday 25th January, 2014, we were stopped by the “Crack team” – a new police force who are trained in the alcoblow.   Without even testing, they would know if you have taken alcohol and just to confirm their suspicion, then they take the test.    The cut-off point allowed is 0.35mg.  Anything above that is an offense.

The team is very well trained that they do not even take TKK (Toa Kitu Kidogo or Toa Kitu Kubwa) which used to be the Kenyan culture but has drastically changed and is appreciated.

When I was arrested, my results showed 0.46mg as per the attached receipt.   After testing you, they will give you a receipt to confirm their results.

We were about 15 people in our vehicle and more than 80% of the passengers had about 0.75mg which is very high.

There were 12 of us arrested including 3 ladies.   2 of the ladies had taken alcohol that measured 0.93 and 0.89 respectively.   We were kept waiting in the police vehicle till around 2.30am.

The police officers handled us very harshly though I guess this was their way because if they didn’t then people would run away.    They were pushing us so roughly to get into the vehicle which was completely unwanted.

From Sarit centre, the police had taken 15 of us.  There was one Kenyan who after being arrested started shouting bad words, calling the police bad names etc.   When we arrived in Muthaiga police station, the guy was taken to the Hardcore criminal cells.   My advise to you all, when arrested, please do not swear or call the police using bad names and shouting at them.   Please just comply with them.   If you have done a mistake, just abide by them – do not finger point especially if you are guilty.

We were then first taken to Parklands police station and since there was no space, we were then taken to Muthaiga police station.

I do not know what would happen if someone has a diarrhea because the wash rooms in the cells are filthy, unclean and untidy.   I wouldn’t even wish for an enemy to stay in the cell, especially after my experience.

We were 38 people in the cell which has a capacity of 20 – 25 people hence it was really crowded.

We stayed in the cell for a total of 6 hours (from 3.00am and left by around 9.00am).   All this time, there was no clear communication from the police officers on the cash bail etc.

Ruaraka Police headquarters is usually opened at 8.00am on Sundays and since one had to pay to get us out of the cells, the cash bail was paid there and by 9.00am, I was released.

My Experience in the cells

The cells are so crowded that I nearly stood for the entire 6 hours.   In the cell, one among us was a magistrate.   We did not know about it until we read in the press.   There were also 4 Asians and about 8 ladies although the ladies were in a different cell.

Most of the people were had measure 0.75mg and above.

Indeed, after staying in the cells for all those hours, we all got agitated and at 6.00am we even held prayers hoping that we will be released on cash bail.

One of the police officers then came to the cell and told us that the cash bail counter is not usually opened on Sundays and thus we would have to wait till Monday!!!    On receipt of this news, we felt disappointed and all of us were down.   However, I think this was just to frighten us and just trying to pin us down.

There was also a 73 year old woman arrested and we had to plead with the police officers to leave her because she was an old mama.

Another advise, if you do not have someone to drive the car, it is better to park it and take the keys.   Otherwise they will tow your car and damage it in the process.   The police also like towing the car so that they get Kshs. 10,000 extra for themselves.

For example, there was a guy, a manager in Safaricom Ltd who had just bought a new Subaru Legacy vehicle 2 days prior.   When arrested, he had a mobile phone and some cash in the car.   His results after the alcoblow test showed 0.77mg thus he had to be arrested.   The police then towed his car where he later realized that the bumper was damaged and the cash as well as the mobile had been stolen.

Another instance was of a vehicle where there was a lady and a small child in the vehicle.   When the driver was arrested, the lady was stranded because she didn’t know how to drive.

It is better to call someone immediately to take the vehicle once you are arrested.

In our cell were some Kenyans and some Asians.   The Kenyans said that Asians don’t usually stay in prison because of Kamlesh Pattni and I sold them that Kamlesh Pattni is now Paul!!   I also mentioned to them that we are now one: I leave you leave and you leave, I leave.   Despite being in prison, we all were overjoyed at that reality.

There was a very good “team work” spirit in the cell – since the cells are too congested and not everyone could sit due to space limitation, we agreed that 5 people had to stand in every hour so that everyone would get a chance to rest.   It was very well coordinated with very good support from everyone.

From outside, everyone would always think that people in the cells are very arrogant but no, this is not the case.

This experience made us realize that what the police are doing is perfect and saves other lives which is predominantly very important.   It is pretty obvious that despite having the contacts of the PPOs, OCSs, Assistant Police Commissioners etc, nothing could be done to save us as this is a directive from the Ministry of Transport in conjunction with the office of the president.   Indeed, even the commandant of Parklands police station called me through a contact of Mr. Shamura who is now in India but these guys did not take they call as they got a directive.

Yes, I was guilty as I had taken a couple of drinks during a social meeting which is always normal during weekends and unfortunately was also driving hence had to comply!!!

My kind advise to you all, please be very careful.   They know that most of us are using the “in roads” hence they are mobilizing more people, more vehicles and more alcoblow meters.   They are trying to get as much people as possible as this is an income and I guess also a very fair act to the citizen of our beloved country: Kenya.

I have come to the realization that income has grown so rapidly and that a majority of the middle aged in Kenya are in a drinking spree.   This will be a problem if not stopped early.

If you are drinking, please do not drive.   Kindly get a designated driver to take you home.

The courts:

I was then released on Sunday 26th January, 2014 on a cash bail and on Monday 27th January, 2014 had to attend a court session in Millimani Law Courts: Court no. 7 – traffic courts.   One has to attend the sessions

The courts were good but very full.  In that particular court on Monday 27th January, 2014, there were 250 people arrested because of alcoblow.

Majority of the people reported at the courts by 8.00am.   I was there by 10.30am and everyone had to carry their ID and driving licenses.    There is no need for a lawyer in this case.

All the 250 of us were arraigned in the court, our names were each called out and everyone given a minute to either plead guilty or not guilty then apologize since this was our first offence.   One person even said he will stop drinking and that he will start drinking juice.   Another Pakistani man said he will drink milk with vitamins rather than sugar.   All these were on a very positive note.   We met in the cell and became friends.   If we meet with others, at least we will remember our shared experience.

There is a fine charged to alcoblow offenders that usually go to as much as Kshs. 100,000/=.   However, instead of even charging us Kshs. 30,000/=, the judge charged us Kshs. 20,000/= because we were all first time offenders.   Please refer to the attached receipt.

From the courts, we then go to pay the fine at a counter that is very bureaucratic and chaotic.   You can be fully released until you have been given a receipt.   I finished the whole process at 4.00pm.

Those who did not pay the fine were detained.    Also, it is mandatory for a person to appear in court personally because if you don’t, there will be a warrant of arrest which is very serious.   Please do not underestimate the courts irrespective of the bureaucracy involved.

Conclusion:

Guys, on a very kind note, please be very careful.   Even on social gatherings, always ensure there is a designated driver or better still, take a cab but please, be very careful. If you get into this mess, it will surely be a setback.   DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

There is no influence on TKK – Toa Kitu Kidogo or Toa Kitu Kubwa.

However, I urge all Kenyan citizens and residents to remain very positive on this matter.   Although I feel regretful, I believe it was a one point lesson to be learnt.   The government is being mindful of its people just like other countries: USA, Europe etc where the penalty includes imprisonment or taking away the driving license

Being a citizen or a resident of this country, we all have to try and improve this culture – change the attitude of drinking and driving for the betterment of all and for the security of innocent wananchi.   Let us save lives!!!

I wish to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their outstanding support.    This was the first time in my life that I received a maximum number of calls in a day from all walks of life both in Kenya and international.    I have never received such even on my birthday or my anniversary.    Your calls, texts, emails and prayers meant a lot and gave me immense support.    Thank you all for your kindness.

We are One!! 

Sometimes we take life for granted; being in the cell reminds you of what life is all about when you see people around.

Incase you need any further clarification on this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Iko Pamoja.   God bless you all. 

Asanteni Sana wote.

Thanking you,

MAYUR SHAH”