Problems facing Kenya’s senior most detective Ndegwa Muhoro deepened Saturday after new evidence emerged that he had been declared unfit to head the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) way back in 2012.
A hitherto concealed report reveals that the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) had warned against Mr Muhoro being appointed to serve as Deputy Inspector General of Police or head the DCI citing integrity issues.
Acting on a complaint from the National Police Service regarding Mr Muhoro, who had applied to become the first DCI under the new constitution, Ipoa had investigated allegations that he had attempted to interfere with investigations on three separate matters allegedly to promote or protect the interests of his friends.
When he failed to have his way in all the three matters, he engineered the transfer of the investigators concerned, Ipoa established.
The new revelations are likely to assume greater significance coming at a time when Mr Muhoro is facing investigations over the controversy surrounding the Sh5.3 billion Tatu City project.
In the Tatu City matter, Mr Muhoro is accused of deliberately commissioning two investigations into the project, which resulted in two different files being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko with conflicting recommendations.
According to prominent lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Mr Muhoro commissioned the second investigation with a view to exonerate one party in exchange for a 300-acre piece of land as well as monetary inducement, allegations the DCI has vehemently denied.
The revelations by Mr Tobiko on Tuesday have put Mr Muhoro on the spot following previous claims that his office bungled the investigations to favour a certain group.
Contacted on Saturday, Mr Muhoro claimed the allegations being levelled against him were part of a smear campaign to tarnish his image and threatened to seek redress in court.
“Anybody making any allegations about me, we shall meet in court. I cannot hold it any longer because this is a smear campaign which has been going on for some time,” he told Sunday Nation from Cape Town, South Africa.
“They should be ready to substantiate their claims in court. Everything I have handled was done procedurally and for instance, in the Tatu City case, we never made any recommendations to the DPP. We only asked for guidelines,” he noted.
Ipoa, in its report, says that it received a complaint from the National Police Service on December 5, 2012 asking to investigate claims touching on Mr Muhoro’s integrity.
“The same originated from Jane Wanjiru Iriga (JWI) against Francis Ndegwa Muhoro (FNM). The complainant reaffirmed her complaint and insisted she wanted it investigated by Ipoa,” the report reads.
Ms Wanjiru accused Mr Muhoro of using his position to influence the CID document examiner, assistant commissioner of Police Emmanuel Kenga to change his report -- which had shown that she (Ms Iriga) had not forged share transfer forms of a 400-acre coffee estate in Makuyu -- which was the subject of a family dispute pitting her against her step daughter, a Ms Ann Wambui Iriga.
Ms Wanjiru claimed that the CID boss was interfering with the investigations because he was a friend of Ms Wambui’s boyfriend, one Fredrick Kirubi.
The report states that when Mr Kenga refused to alter his report as ordered by Mr Muhoro, he was transferred from the CID headquarters.
The report further states that in an affidavit, Mr Kenga stated how he was approached by Mr Kirubi and Mr Muhoro’s personal assistant Bruno Shoshio and offered Sh100,000 to change his statement exonerating Ms Wanjiru.
Mr Shoshio claimed he had been sent by his boss, Mr Muhoro, according to the affidavit.
Mr Kenga turned down the inducement upon which Mr Kirubi stormed out of the office warning him that he would face dire consequences for refusing to play along.
The incident was witnessed by Mr Kenga’s deputy, Antipas Nyanjwa, the report states.
The threat came to pass when just within two weeks, he was transferred to the then Nairobi City Council department of investigations and information analysis.
Mr Nyanjwa confirmed witnessing the incident. He further recounted a separate incident in which Mr Muhoro sent Mr Shoshio to ask him to alter a document examination report in respect of a transfer document over a property in Thika.
In his report, he had stated that there was no forgery, Mr Nyanjwa said.
When he refused to change his report, he too was transferred, he said.
A subsequent investigation was opened against Ms Wanjiru in Mombasa alleging that she had forged a provisional certificate of title for a beach property in Kikambala, the report further states.
“She further contends that the investigations were carried out by a Mr J.K Muthui who confirmed there was no forgery. She says he was transferred soon thereafter to Bura in Tana River district. According to her, these two transfers happening soon after the favourable reports supporting her is clear testimony to the influential hand of FNM as the Director of Criminal Investigations,” reads the report.
When Mr Muhoro appeared before Ipoa, he vehemently denied the accusations but confirmed that he indeed knew Mr Kirubi and had helped him in matters unrelated to the allegations.
He added that all the three transfers were “normal” and argued that if anything, matters of transfers were the preserve of the Police Commissioner.
Mr Shoshio too appeared before Ipoa and confirmed having met Mr Kenga and Mr Nyanjwa but denied that he had coerced them to change their reports.
Mr Muthui also appeared before the policing authority and denied that his transfer was as a result of his refusal to do Mr Muhoro’s bidding.
In its verdict, Ipoa, headed by Mr Macharia Njeru, noted that even though it could not conclusively determine Mr Muhoro’s guilt or otherwise, the allegations impacted negatively on his integrity especially at a time when the Police force was under pressure to reform.
“Kenya has cried for a long time for a reformed National Police Service. We have to consider the larger interest of public good and ask ourselves whether it is right to wish away serious doubts or questions raised on integrity of a person who is to hold a senior leadership position in the National Police Service.
"Is it desirable to allow such a person to be the first DIG of either of the services in the National Police Service or even as a Director of Criminal Investigations?” the report posed.
The team noted it could not make a conclusive finding but said that “on balance of probabilities” it would be unwise to pick Mr Muhoro.
“With all these questions arising we have arrived at the decision that in the interest of the National Police Service and the greater public good and upon taking into account the matters stated above, he has to postpone his ambition in so far as the positions he has applied or are concerned,” it advises.
“We consequently recommend that FNM should not be considered for appointment for the positions of Deputy Inspector General or Director of Criminal Investigations,” the authority concluded.
It remains unclear how the National Police Service disregarded Ipoa’s recommendation and went ahead to appoint Mr Muhoro despite having commissioned the investigation.
Mr Muhoro, who had been appointed to head the CID on the eve of the promulgation of the new constitution in August 2010, was among those shortlisted by the National Police service Commission for both the positions of Deputy Inspector General of Police and head of the DCI in 2012.
Mr Muhoro emerged top of the list at the interviews for the Deputy Inspector-General in charge of police.
He had also applied for the position of head of the DCI and was among those shortlisted. He eventually clinched the job.
Mr Muhoro was the subject of a letter dated March 15 to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) by Mr Tobiko, directing that the Tatu City matter be discussed in full in the next meeting of the Multi-Agency Team (MAT).
“There are currently two files in respect of the same subject matter submitted to this office by the DCI for perusal and advice. In the two inquiry files, the DCI makes diametrically conflicting, opposed and irreconcilable findings and recommendations,” the DPP said.
“Another team would also be constituted under the MAT framework to relook at the two files,” he added.
The first inquiry, file number 77/2015, looked into allegations of fraudulent change and or transfer of shares, shareholding and directorship in Purple Saturn Properties Ltd.
However, the second inquiry, number 40/2015, was about Purple Saturn Properties Ltd, Nahashon Nyagah and Others.
“The complainants in inquiry number 40/2015 are the persons recommended to be charged in inquiry file number 77/2015 in respect of the same subject matter,” the DPP noted.
On March 7, Mr Abdullahi wrote a letter to the DPP questioning the integrity of the investigation in respect of the matter in question and further made grave allegations regarding the conduct of the DCI.
In August 2015, Purple Saturn Ltd reported to the DCI and investigations were launched and several people among them Mr Nyagah, were questioned.
The fraud was detected when the company agreed to sell 1,183 acres in Ruiru in March 2014 to Daykio Plantations controlled by tycoon Titus Muya.
However, they discovered that the controlling shareholding in Purple Saturn Properties, which owned the land, had been transferred without their authority, to Nara Company, a company set up by Mr Nyagah.
The file was forwarded to the DPP with recommendation that eight suspects, including Mr Nyagah be charged in court. They however went to court to block their prosecution.
It was not established how the DCI conducted another parallel investigation that later exonerated Mr Nyagah and his co-accused persons.
“He (the DCI) appointed a team of police detectives led by a Ms Shamsa with specific and pre-agreed findings to exonerate Mr Nyagah and his associates,” Mr Abdullahi said.