Kitui police have released a lorry and the 200 sacks of charcoal found in it after promising Governor Charity Ngilu that they would not.
Ngilu stopped the process on Wednesday after residents clashed with police outside Kitui police station.
Hundred of protesters had surrounded the vehicle and demanded that the charcoal be offloaded before the owner’s departure to his Kiambu county home.
The Governor confronted acting Police Commander Muthuri Mwongera who said the county would be allowed to file an appeal against a court ruling for the vehicle’s release.
But police escorted the vehicle out of Kitui at night.
Ngilu had given instructions for four county vehicles to ring-fence the lorry.
But after nightfall, the county vehicles were towed away to create room for the lorry to leave. Armed officers then escorted the driver out of Kitui.
On Thursday morning, only two of the county’s vehicles were seen at the site, the others having been taken to the police station’s junk yard.
Mwongera noted he acted as the court directed.
“I had asked the Governor to appeal the order and get a stay-of-execution injunction but no order was delivered. I had no choice but to let go of the lorry and its contents.”
The county has banned charcoal trade to protect the environment.
But Kitui Principal Magistrate Johnson Munguti said there was no basis to charge Stephen Thiru, Francis Njau, John Njenga and Joseph Mwangi, who were found with the lorry.