Kidnap suspect’s phone ‘had photos of convict’

Tuesday August 6 2013

PHOTO | FILE Police traced Raphael Nderitu to a cell in Kamiti Maximum Prison.

PHOTO | FILE Police traced Raphael Nderitu to a cell in Kamiti Maximum Prison. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VINCENT AGOYA [email protected]

Photographs of a death row convict linked to a series of abductions in Nairobi were found in a mobile phone belonging to a kidnap suspect.

Raphael Nderitu is accused in connection to the kidnap of a five-year-old girl, a trial court was told on Tuesday.

Police traced Nderitu to a cell in Kamiti Maximum Prison after an investigator recovered a mobile phone from a woman who demanded Sh5 million ransom for the release of the girl.

A witness said he downloaded and printed the photographs after police raided an M-Pesa outlet where the money had been withdrawn and traced the owner.

The computer and cellular forensic investigator, Mr Nicholas ole Seni, said he retrieved two pictures in a cellphone belonging to Ms Charity Gakonyo, who has been charged alongside Nderitu and five others with the kidnapping of the child during a Sunday service at Mavuno Church in Narobi’s South C estate.

“I received cellphones and printouts from Mr John Shegu who was in charge of investigations. He told me to examine whether they contained any demand-for-ransom messages and whether they contained exchanges between the suspects and the complainants in this case,” the witness said.

He said he downloaded Nderitu’s photos which he found attached to messages in Ms Gakonyo’s phone.

Nderitu, a condemned prisoner was later traced to Kamiti after several days of investigations, the court heard.

His gang of six women is on trial before Milimani chief magistrates’s court over the kidnap of the child and demanding ransom from the child’s father, Mr Antony Muturi.

On Tuesday, the witness identified Nderitu in court as the one whose photos were found in Ms Gakonyo’s cellphone.

“We were told ransom money had been demanded and sent to cellphone number 0728xxxxxx ...we were given instructions to trace the M-Pesa agent where the money had been withdrawn and we traced it to Umoja I,” the witness said.

Cellphone owner

He said that after tracing the agent, they started looking for the cellphone’s owner who they found to be Ms Alice Wangui Gitongo.
“We found her at a house near Kayole police station, arrested her and asked her to show us where her worker, Ms Monica Wanjiku lived...the same Monica is also known by the name Mercy David,” the witness said.

Nderitu, who was convicted in a separate case, is on trial alongside the women.

Ms Gakonyo has since jumped bail and has an arrest warrant over her head.

The hearing was on Tuesday adjourned to September 16.