It was on March 8, 2018 when businessman Kassim Jiraw aka Sokorow left Nairobi for Malindi through Mombasa to collect his money after a tender deal failed to materialise.
Mr Jiraw was to get back the Sh9 million he had given Eddlied Mandi Jilani, who works with a devolved unit at the Coast.
Ms Mandi had called the businessman and asked him to meet her in Malindi town, Kilifi County, where the deal would be discussed.
However, before asking Mr Jiraw to meet her in that town, Ms Mandi struck a deal with three men - Ngira Karisa Charo, Makonde Ruwa Buni and Katana Karisa Charo.
She asked them to help her kill the trader since she could not pay him back.
In a graphic testimony to a Mombasa court, Ngira narrated the events that followed Mr Jiraw's arrival at the Coast and how they killed him.
Ms Mandi sent Ngira and Mr Buni, who both reside in Kilifi, to Mombasa’s Nyali suburb to pick up Mr Jiraw.
Ngira said they left for Mombasa as instructed but that he was reluctant since he had declined Ms Mandi's proposal to kill the trader.
“She came to my house twice asking me to help her kill a man who was bothering her over a debt. I declined. Two days later, Mr Buni came and told me to accompany him to an unnamed place. Since he was my friend I complied as he had affirmed I would know where we were going later,” he told Resident Judge Erick Ogola.
He said that as they left for the coastal city, Ms Mandi called the businessman whom she referred to as “visitor” and informed him that two gentlemen would pick him up.
The woman then linked up Mr Buni with the “visitor” and exchanged their contacts. She told Mr Jiraw that she had sent a taxi for him.
Upon reaching Nyali, Ngira and Mr Buni picked the “visitor” whom they found waiting for them and so the journey back to Malindi began.
During this time, the witness told the court, the woman used his phone to talk to the businessman.
“They spoke in English. I didn’t [understand] what they talked about since I am not conversant in the language. But before I handed the phone to the businessman, Ms Mandi asked me if we had found the visitor,” he said.
The businessman sat in the seat directly behind Mr Buni, who drove the taxi, while Ngira sat next to him.
The witness explained that when they reached Mbuyu wa Kusema within Malindi, they stopped for about five minutes for the businessman to relieve himself.
“A few minutes later, Ms Mandi joined us. She arrived on a motorcyle. She greeted her visitor and they talked briefly before we proceeded with the journey. It was around 4pm,” he said.
This time round, Ms Mandi took the co-driver’s seat while Ngira moved to the back seat directly behind the driver's.
Ngira said that when they arrived at Kibao Cha Gishi, they found his brother Katana waiting for them.
The man, who had a black polythene bag in his hands, joined them in the car and sat next to him.
“Mr Buni then alighted and went to where my brother had been standing. They talked briefly before Buni took the bag and placed it in the car boot. We proceeded with the journey for about 10 minutes before we stopped and switched sitting arrangements,” he said.
Ms Mandi took the driver’s seat while Mr Buni sat next to her. The rest occupied the back seat with the visitor the furthest on the left.
They proceeded with the journey with Ms Mandi now driving at a high speed.
“Buni then jumped on the businessman’s neck and started strangling him [sic]. He then put a rope around the visitor’s neck and ordered us to tighten it. As Buni strangled the businessman and held his hands, the two of us tightened the rope,” he told the court.
The witness said he had declined to tighten the rope but that the other two men threatened to kill him too if he did not comply.
“I had no option so I helped roll the rope and tighten it. The murder took five minutes. The deceased stopped breathing and kicking. Ms Mandi then took the deceased's phone from his pocket and took a motorcycle back to Malindi town,” he said
Ngira said they then drove the vehicle to a nearby hotel with the body on the back seat, parked it and went to have an early supper.
They also drank palm wine as they waited for the sun to set so they could dispose of the body.
He said they left the hotel at around 8pm and drove for about 10 minutes to a thicket where they got rid of the body.
“We stripped him naked. We left him only with underpants. Mr Buni poured three bottles of acid on the body then we placed it inside the black polythene bag and dumped it there. We spent about three hours pouring the acid on the body and doing everything [we could] to conceal the body,” he said
Ngira said that after they finished the job, Mr Buni dropped them at their houses.
Days later, they were arrested and charged with murder.
Police officers took Ngira from a funeral he had been attending in his home area.
In their car he found Mr Buni and together they proceeded to Ms Mandi's house, which police had located using phone signals. Police found the woman packing her belongings in order to escape.
Ngira was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment due to a plea bargain agreement with the state.
Ms Mandi and Ms Buni denied the murder charge and remain on trial with Ngira as the prosecution's third witness.
Police are still searching for Ngira's brother.
The hearing will continue on May 15 and 16.