Puzzle of ‘mad’ man arrested with Sh250k and banned polythene bags

A man suspected to be mentally ill is being held at Kimilili Police Station in Bungoma County after he was found with Sh250,000 cash and a consignment of banned polythene bags.

The suspect, identified only as Shikuku, was apprehended on Thursday during a sting operation by police and officials of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

Shikuku, dressed in dirty, worn-out clothes and with unkempt hair, was spotted speaking to himself near Kimilili Katiba grounds where he normally sells plastic bags, seemingly oblivious of the ban.

“The suspect was nabbed with around 15,000 pieces of banned polythene bags [that amount of money]. He is currently in our custody,” Kimilili Sub-County Deputy Commissioner Joyce Onguzo told journalists in her office on Friday.

She said the man will be arraigned once police finish the investigation.

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Part of the money

Some of the money and polythene bags that Shikuku, a man suspected to be mentally ill, was found with during a Nema crackdown in Bungoma County on July 4, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

‘PRETENSE’

Residents claimed Shikuku pretended to be ‘mad’ in order to avoid punishment.

An unidentified trader said, “Shikuku is not mad; he only pretends. Where does he get the polythene bags?”

Others noted that unscrupulous traders smuggle the bags into Kenya through the porous border with Uganda.

The administrator cautioned business people against defying the ban, saying they will soon be arrested and prosecuted.

Some of the plastic bags and money that Shikuku, a man suspected to be mentally ill, was found with during a Nema crackdown in Bungoma County on July 4, 2019.

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CRACKDOWN

Nema’s Bungoma County Director Rob Kipkoech said they involved police as a group of youths previously attacked a team in an attempt to evade arrest.

“My team was attacked by a group of youths who wanted the operation called off. This time round it was a success following the engagement of police officers,” Mr Kipkoech said.

He added that similar operations will take place in major urban centers in the bid to ensure the ban announced on August 28, 2018 is fully implemented.

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