Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mystery fifth person in Mutula’s death probe

The late Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo. Investigators believe the guest could provide critical information on the last moments of the Senator whose death has puzzled the country. PHOTO/EMMA NZIOKA

The late Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo. Investigators believe the guest could provide critical information on the last moments of the Senator whose death has puzzled the country. PHOTO/EMMA NZIOKA  NATION

By SUNDAY NATION TEAM [email protected]

Detectives investigating the death of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo are exploring the presence of a mysterious visitor at his Maanzoni home when he died last Saturday.

The visitor is said to have been questioned by detectives but police have deepened the mystery because they have maintained silence on the details emerging from the investigation into the death of the maverick politician.

Investigators believe the guest could provide critical information on the last moments of the Senator whose death has puzzled the country.

Multiple sources — who cannot be named because they are not allowed to speak on behalf of the family — say that the preliminary findings from the postmortem examination were unlikely to change significantly when the final report is prepared.

And, going by the preliminary findings, police have no reason to detain any of those who were at Mr Kilonzo’s house, unless further investigations raise a different line of investigation.

Besides the mysterious visitor, police have questioned the farm manager, a cook, a supervisor and the housekeeper and recorded their statements.

An officer privy to the investigations told the Sunday Nation that the statements by some of Mr Kilonzo’s employees are not consistent. Two of the employees have written that there was a guest at the house while others did not mention the visitor.

Another officer said the postmortem examination findings did not leave any room for conjecture in establishing the cause of death, but it had been agreed that the decision to release the report should be left to the family.

The postmortem examination was conducted by seven doctors led by chief government pathologist, Dr Johansen Oduor at the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.

British pathologist Calder Ian Maddison flew to Kenya at the family’s request and took part in the examination.

Further reports have showed that an unlabelled bottle containing pills was among samples taken from Mr Kilonzo’s bedroom by detectives after the death was reported.

The Senator’s body was found tucked in bed with foam in the mouth. There were also indications that the lawyer had vomited and samples were collected for analysis.

Besides the pathologists, detectives have engaged experts at the Government Chemist to examine the pills and other samples.

Fresh reports emerged Saturday that seemed to contradict earlier information that Mr Kilonzo had not been seen alive on April 27, until he was discovered dead at around 11am.

According to the new reports, the Senator had woken up early and spent about 30 minutes at the swimming pool within the compound of his palatial home.

At that time, the visitor was in the house.

Police also reviewed video footage captured by CCTV cameras mounted around Mr Kilonzo’s home.

Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro said: “The doctors are holding the key to this investigation. You start with learning the cause of death from the doctors before you decide whether to pursue it further or end it. It could be different if it was a matter of an attack where injuries are visible.”

Contacted by the Sunday Nation, Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo said: “It’s too early to tell what happened because the investigators are looking back to several weeks before the incident. We are looking at layers and layers of investigation.”

After the postmortem examination, the pathologists said they were in agreement, adding that findings would be available after eight to 10 weeks. However, the doctors did not tell the media what they had agreed on.

On Thursday, Mrs Nduku Kilonzo, the Senator’s wife, told reporters at the family’s Gigiri home that the samples collected from her husband’s body and home would be tested locally because Kenya has the required facilities.

But when fielding questions at a press conference at Mr Kilonzo’s offices, the Senator’s son, Mr Mutula Kilonzo Junior, told reporters the samples would be tested abroad. That briefing was called to announce that Mr Kilonzo would be buried at Mbooni and not Maanzoni as earlier stated.

Another officer said the first batch of detectives who entered the bedroom after the death report was made said the scene had probably been disturbed. He added that Mr Kilonzo’s long time chef and housekeeper may help unravel the mystery on the possibility of there having been another person in the house.

“It is just part of our investigations ... we are not saying for sure that there was another person, but some things are not adding up,” said the officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Before pursuing the latest line of investigation, detectives had suspected other causes of death including heart attack, suicide, drug overdose, poisoning or an insect bite.

The chef, Mr John Mulei, is believed to have been close to the former minister.

“He was his confidant in some ways,” said a worker at the ranch, adding that they were under strict instructions not to speak to the press.

The Senator’s Valhala home has a state-of-the-art security system complete with CCTV cameras and the entrances are opened through lock combinations and are remote controlled.

The Sunday Nation spoke to yet another detective who said: “If there was a second person in the house, the person who opened the door in the morning to prepare breakfast must have seen something.”

Forensic expert, Dr Geoffrey Mutuma, who at one time was Mr Kilonzo’s doctor, says the issue of his bedroom not being locked raises more questions than answers.

“Indications are that there is a possibility of another person who accessed the room,” the doctor added.

“The question is; was it a habit for the Senator to spend the night in his room while living the bedroom door unlocked? Looking at the surrounding of his ranch as a forensic expert I find this disturbing,” said Dr Mutuma.

Sources say that workers who have spoken to investigators have said it was not strange for the senator to have visitors during his stay at the ranch on weekends and that some would spend the night.

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