The family of former Garissa Finance executive Idriss Mukhtar spoke for the first time on Sunday about his attempted assassination, as details emerged of how detectives investigating the incident were threatened.
Dr Aden Mukhtar said his son was shot because of his fight against corruption in the devolved government.
“He questioned the academic qualifications of Governor Ali Korane. That is why some people wanted him dead,” Dr Mukhtar insisted.
He added that he was aware of the threats to the life of his first born son, and had advised him to report the matter to the police.
“He kept calling, telling me that he was receiving threats. He said the callers told him that they had all the details about him and were monitoring his movements. They told him they knew where he spent his time, where he prayed, adding that they had been sent by a ‘big man’ from Garissa to eliminate him,” Dr Mukhtar said.
He added that at some point, the callers started blackmailing him. They wanted money in exchange for information about a plot to kill him, he said.
SET A TRAP
“Police advised him to set a trap. They told him to ask the callers to meet him so that they could be arrested. They did not turn up at the scheduled meeting place,” he said.
His family, Dr Mukhtar said, is concerned about the pace of the investigations into his son’s attempted murder, the release of suspects and the circumstances leading to the death of the self-confessed gunman at Parklands Police Station on Thursday.
“Within 10 days of the shooting, detectives had done a lot of work. After the arrest of Governor Korane, the investigations suddenly ground to some halt,” Dr Mukhtar said.
“We have been informed that the first investigators were withdrawn and the matter taken over by Directorate of Criminal Investigations.”
An officer who was initially assigned the case told his superiors that he received threats after rejecting a Sh10 million bribe. The detective has since gone on leave.
HOMICIDE INVESTIGATIONS UNIT
According to sources, when the officer reported the plot to his boss, DCI boss George Kinoti ordered the case be taken up by the Homicide Investigations Unit.
He then appointed five officers to work closely with the Special Crimes Prevention Unit and the Flying Squad to unearth the details of Mr Idriss’ shooting.
The investigation, however, was dealt a serious blow when the main suspect, David Mwai, died in his cell. Parklands police said he killed himself with a piece of cloth cut from his jacket.
A woman, Mr Korane’s bodyguard and the governor’s cousin are still being held at different police stations in connection with the shooting.
The Mwai and Idriss families have questioned the circumstances under which the detainee died, with each talking of an attempted cover up.
Mwai’s sister said he called on Wednesday to inquire about his wife who was reportedly arrested with him.
She said he also sought her opinion about an offer by two people who wanted to help him escape from custody.
According to the suspect’s sister, she advised him to reject the offer, considering that he did not know their intention.
“He called on Thursday morning and said he understood why I stopped him from escaping. Again, he asked if I had met his wife or where she was being held,” she said.
“Later in the evening, I learnt from the media that he had committed suicide. I was shocked because when I spoke to him, he said he was waiting for his day in court.”
The family is awaiting results of a post-mortem examination to be conducted on Mwai’s body.
Dr Mukhtar’s family lawyer Charles Kanjama said the former Garissa Finance executive fought impunity and corruption in the previous and present devolved governments.
“He became aware that fake, forged or fraudulent documents were submitted to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to enable Mr Korane get clearance and run for Garissa governor in 2013 and 2017,” the lawyer said.
Mr Kanjama said the younger Mukhtar pursued the matter even though he was not the first person to question the MBA certificate from the University of Nairobi Mr Korane used to be cleared by the two commissions.
“He is the only one who received a confirmation letter from the university that the documents were fake. That Mr Korane did not graduate from that university and he did not attend classes,” Mr Kanjama said, adding that voters who were pursuing the issue gave up.
The lawyer, who is also the Nairobi branch Law Society of Kenya chairman, said that the family had information that senior people at the IEBC were aware of the fake degree certificates but there had been a plot to cover it up by generating new documents and an application form backdated to 2017.
The file, he said, had been fed with new information from a foreign university.
“We have information that police obtained warrants to get the important files from the IEBC on Wednesday but it is doubtful if that has been done,” the lawyer said.
Mr Kanjama criticised the manner in which the police are conducting the investigations, saying even after getting statements from key suspects, some were selectively released from custody.
“We know there is a process that investigators must follow in the case of someone being a person of interest to a suspect, to an accused, then a convict to a prisoner,” he said.
“However, we feel that if police are not aggressive enough, transparent and accountable when dealing with the matter, justice will not served and impunity will reign supreme.”
He said police summoned him last week and said they received information that he was one of the people targeted for elimination.
“Police said the suspects monitored my movements and had on several occasions, visited my office disguised as clients,” he said.
Mr Kanjama has represented the former Finance executive twice: When he was seeking compensation for wrongful dismissal from the county and when he wanted to look into the authenticity of Governor Korane’s academic papers.
“Unless investigations are thorough, people with information on this matter will feel threatened. This applies to the family, the legal team, potential witnesses and others,” he said.
During a prize-giving ceremony at Dertu Secondary School in Dadaab on Sunday, Governor Korane accused his political opponents and rivals of linking him to the shooting of the former executive.
The county boss said he would not gain anything by eliminating Mr Mukhtar, adding that he only became person of interest to the police “because of propaganda”.
"I was only required to tell the police what I know. I was questioned for 39 minutes only and was not arrested," he said.
The governor said he never presented any master's degree certificate to the IEBC “as has been reported”.
According to an IEBC clearance certificate seen by the Nation, the governor presented an MBA certificate from the University of Nairobi.
The degree certificate indicates that Governor Korane graduated in 2011.