Controversial businessman Ken Lugwili alias ‘General Defao’ is once again in the eye of the storm after his gun shop was on Tuesday evening raided over rent arrears shortly before the Firearms Licensing Board (FLB) declared that his licence to sell guns had expired.
The police officers, who accompanied the auctioneers, recovered 22 assorted firearms including Escort Magnum shotgun (9), Benelli shotgun (1), Guatro shotgun (5), Savage shotgun (1) and six other pistols.
The pistols were Walther, Sarsilmaz, Ceska and a revolver handgun among others. Also recovered were a total of 565 rounds of ammunition of various calibres.
Lugwili, alias Wycliffe Okelo Lukwiri, a licensed firearms dealer and the owner of Vic Technologies, had accumulated rent arrears amounting to Sh4,962,990 as a result of the dwindling business.
Kilimani sub county DCIO Stephen Ole Tanki said detectives are this morning scheduled to move to court seeking to detain him for more days to complete investigations.
“We have just began investigations to establish circumstances under which he acquired the firearms and for what purpose. It is not an issue we can treat lightly due to his past record of being involved in some criminal activities,” Ole Tanki said.
Reports also indicate that almost all the 26 dealers in the country have no valid licenses, and that the FLB has also not been issuing import permits to dealers.
Records at the FLB indicate the physical address of Vic Technologies as Third Floor of Apple Wood Building, Wood Avenue in Yaya Centre. Documents in our possession indicate that Lugwili acquired the license as a firearms dealer on March 2018 upon payment of Sh2,000 requisite fee.
A certificate signed by N.N. Munyi, the then FLB secretary states: “This is to certify that Mr Wyclife Ken Lugwiri carrying on business at Apple Wood Park under the name of Vic Technology Systems Ltd has been registered in Nairobi licensing areas as a firearms dealer (full licence).
The licence allowed him to sell, stock, repair and test all types of firearms and to deal with all types of ammunition other than those prohibited under the Firearms Act 2015.
Before a licence is given, the dealer must furnish the board with, among other things, physical address of where the business will be located. Such details are entered in a register maintained by the FLB.
Following the recovery, detectives from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) were roped in to conduct further investigations into the recovery and yesterday grilled Lugwili for hours over the incident.
The officers said Lugwili’s firearm licence and the business permit by Nairobi County had also expired, and was thus conducting business against the law. The auctioneers had a court order which was directing them to remove the items of the tenant but Lugwili maintained he had not been served with any orders.
Other things recovered at the premises include 72 medium and 45 small tins of pointed head pellets, 2 tins of Eley wasp pellets, 25 pistol holsters, 9 double magazine carriers, 6 single magazine carriers, 30 slings, 5 sniper ultimate, 10 sniper torches, 9 firearm handles, 12 studs, 7 spacers, 15 flash aiders, 7 firearm spanners, and 2 firearm cleaning brushes.
Also found in the premises were a firearm movement register and assorted firearm manuals. Yesterday morning, ATPU detectives revisited the scene, interrogated some people and documents and further examined the recovered cache.
Lugwili’s company had been licensed to sell firearms but on August 3, 2019, FLB suspended his dealership. Later, in a letter dated January 7, 2020, the FLB wrote to Vic Technology Systems Ltd informing them the suspension had been lifted.
“This is to inform you that after deliberation on the matter, the Board has decided to lift the suspension and you are permitted to conduct your business activities with effect from the date of this letter,” the board chair wrote. And sometimes last year, Lugwili was among nine suspects, among them foreigners from the DR Congo arrested in Kilimani area with millions of fake dollars. His other accomplices were Bongo Ulerech, Olivier Mango, George Sr Gboe, Richard Kabasi, Egid Musolieva, Timothy Muhumuza and Brian Kimani. The case is still pending before the court.
According to the official communication from the police headquarters, officers were providing security services following a court order, Miscellaneous Application number E598 of 2022 issued to Hebros Auctioneers. The order allowed them to break in and remove the proclaimed goods belonging to Lugwili of Vic Technologies Limited and issue notification of sale for purpose of auctioning of goods to recover rent arrears.
“The office was broken into by the auctioneers and in one of the rooms was discovered to be having a standard armoury where several arms, ammunition and firearm-related materials were found,” Kilimani police boss said.
Every registered dealer is expected to have a certificate of registration issued by the Licensing officer and all dealers must or on the first day of January each year, surrender the certificate and apply for a new one after paying a fee.
Failure to comply may lead to removal from the register after 21 days. However, he or she may be allowed time and deemed to be registered for the purpose only of disposing of the available stock.
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