Standard Group Chief of Staff Laban-Cliff Onserio has been arrested after he was allegedly found with a stun grenade at the Holy Family Basilica Church on Sunday, December 18.
The renowned journalist was arrested by officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) after he was found with the explosive device in the basement of the church which also acts as a parking lot.
Laban-Cliff Onserio in court
Onserio was arraigned at Kahawa Law Courts on Monday.
He was, however, not charged with any offences after the Director of Criminal Investigations(DCI) filed an application seeking to continue detaining him for five days to enable police complete investigations into the matter.
“The court be pleased to issue a custodial order that Onserio be detained for five days from today at Anti-Terrorism Police Unit Headquarters in Nairobi to allow the police conclude investigations,” investigation officer Vincent Mutai said.
The officer told the court that the journalist is being investigated for terror-related offences which include possession of explosives.
According to the court papers, at the time of his arrest the scribe was in possession of a flash-bang training system model 7290T stun grenade and threatened members of the public with an imminent attack against them while holding the said grenade.
Mutai says the journalist was arrested by a multi-agency team that responded to the scene after receiving information through the police control room that there was a terror threat at Holy Family Basilica.
“Upon arrest, the journalist could not give satisfactory reasons why he was in possession of the flash-bang grenade nor produce a certificate allowing him to be in possession of the said explosive device,” the officer informed the court.
According to the officer, preliminary investigations show that Onserio illegally acquired the flash-bang grenade from a British national currently working with Fly 540 airline namely Don Smith in 2021.
Mutai told the court that the device had been forwarded to the bomb disposal and hazardous unit to be forensically examined and reports are yet to be obtained and analyzed.
“The mobile phones recovered from his possession have been forwarded to our ICT laboratory for forensic examination, and analysis and reports are yet to be obtained to confirm any terrorist links,” he added.
Further, the detectives want Onserio detained to enable them to liaise with British High Commission over the Briton adversely mentioned by the journalist.
“The investigators are yet to obtain the call data records of Onserio of the detailed analysis and follow-ups with persons that he has been in touch with,” the court heard.
The state wants the court to allow them five days claiming that the investigations into the matter are complex and require more time and involve a number of agencies who need time to interview and re-interview the journalist and carry out further investigations into the matter.
“The activities of terrorists and their associates pose a great risk to the national security and security of the entire peace-loving human race in the world and their actions must be fully investigated,” Mutai stated.
The prosecution is opposed to Onserio being released on bail on grounds that he will interfere with ongoing investigations as police believe his other associates are yet to be arrested.
“Onserio is a flight risk and he might interfere with our investigations and should thus remain in custody pending detailed investigations being carried out on his possible terrorist activities,” the officer said.