Mystery surrounds the identities of several people named in the ongoing murder trial of four Administration Police officers and an informer accused of killing human-rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others.
Among the persons adversely mentioned in the elimination of Mr Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri on June 23, 2016 is a man only identified as Mr Kamenju.
According to a confession read in court on Monday by chief inspector Geoffrey Kinyua, Mr Kamenju played a key role in the murder of the trio and even proposed where the three bodies were to be dumped. It is alleged that Mr Kamenju was a police officer who had previously worked at the Ol-Donyo Sabuk Police Post in Machakos County
The statement said Mr Kamenju was probably a Meru, “going by his accent”. It was also his vehicle and that of Fredrick ole Leliman, one of the accused persons, that was used to ferry the bodies to the Ol Donyo-Sabuk area, where they were thrown into River Athi.
In the confession made by Peter Ngugi, a former police informer, Mr Kamenju and Mr Leliman vehemently opposed the release of the victims on the fateful night, against the wishes of their colleague Leonard Mwangi and Mr Ngugi, who felt they needed to drop the plan and set the trio free, as their cover had been blown.
According to Mr Ngugi, they had exposed themselves once they locked the three victims at Syokimau AP post. Mr Ngugi and Mr Mwangi also argued that the fact that Mr Kimani had managed to get in touch with his wife while in the cells greatly jeopardised their mission.
After the killings and disposal of the bodies, the alleged killers drove back to Connections Bar in Syokimau for supper and drinks at around 4am. Mr Kamenju is said to have been the first to leave, followed by Mr Leliman and later Mr Mwangi, who left on foot.
Mr Kamenju left at around 6am, according to the confession, while Mr Ngugi was left sleeping in one of the seats, until 4pm, when left for his home in Waithaka, Dagoretti.
Another mysterious person is a woman only described in the confession as a “fat woman, probably Luhya or Luo”. She is the person who was tasked with identifying Mr Mwenda to the informer. In the confession, Mr Ngugi said he met Mr Leliman on the morning of June 23, 2016. Mr Leliman was then in the company of the “fat woman” who was in the back seat of the vehicle. Mr Leliman explained to Mr Ngugi that the woman knew Mr Mwenda very well.
Mr Leliman dropped Mr Ngugi and the “fat woman” at the Mlolongo bus stage to take a matatu to the Mavoko Law Courts.
The statement said the woman was about 35 years, fat, with big hips and her complexion was “chocolate”. After arriving at the Mavoko courts, the woman allegedly pointed out Mr Mwenda, telling Mr Ngugi, “Ndiyo hiyo kamtu yako (there is your man),” before she walked away.
They shared some Sh2,000 left by Mr Leliman and he was left keeping watch as Mr Mwenda and his lawyer, Mr Kimani, entered the courtroom for the hearing of the case.
He said the victim was easily identifiable because he was a short and was referred to as mtu ya nyama ndogo (small-bodied man).
The confession also talks of a caller from the police post informing Mr Leliman that Mr Kimani had managed to call his wife. The identity of the caller remains a mystery, but the party at Connections Bar was cut short as the officers and Mr Ngugi went back to Syokimau Police Station and picked up the victims, bundling them into the car boot before heading to an open field in Mlolongo, where they allegedly executed the trio, one after the other.
The trial of the five resumes tomorrow, with Justice Jessie Lesiit ruling on whether a video recording of Mr Ngugi showing the police the places where and how the three were killed will be admitted.
Mr Ngugi opposed the production of the video, saying it would amount to self-incrimination. He also argued through his lawyer Kevin Michuki that the officer who recorded the video did not comply with the Evidence Act. Mr Michuki told the court that the video evidence is a confession disguised as a scenes-of-crime reconstruction and it was not clear whether Mr Ngugi was told of his right to remain silent.
Mr Leliman, Mr Stephen Cheburet, Ms Sylvia Wanjiku and Mr Leonard Maina Mwangi, and Mr Ngugi have denied the murders.
The court had earlier been told that Mr Mwenda had been warned twice against pressing charges against Mr Leliman. Mr Kimani, an advocate with International Justice Mission, was representing Mr Mwenda, a boda boda rider, who had accused Mr Leliman of a shooting that had occurred on April 10, 2015, in Mlolongo.
In the incident, Mwenda and his friend were stopped by AP officers in Mlolongo. It is alleged that Mr Leliman accidently shot him but to cover up the matter, he fabricated charges against him.
After the shooting, the officers administered first aid on him and rushed him to a nearby dispensary for further medication. He was treated and referred to Machakos Hospital but the officers took him to a private hospital where he was treated and discharged.
He was locked up in a cell for the weekend and charged the following Monday with three counts of possessing bhang, gambling and resisting arrest. He was denied a P3 form until Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) intervened. The agency was to press charges of assault, illegal wounding and misuse of firearm against the officer.
And because of refusing to plead guilty to the charges, Mr Mwenda was arrested for the second time and more charges, mostly traffic-related offences, preferred against him.
Thereafter, Mr Mwenda started receiving the death threats. According to statements made in court by a former investigator at the IPOA, Mr Vincent Kirui, the first threat allegedly happened sometime in December 2015, when three officers from the Mlolongo Police Post visited his home at night.
The three were Mr Leliman, a Ms Jane Ngige and a former Mlolongo OCS identified as a Mr Wambugu. It is alleged that the three officers warned him against cooperating with IPOA “or they will kill him and his body will never be traced.”
The second threat, according to Mr Kirui, came on March 30, 2016, three months before the gruesome murder. Mr Mwenda alongside Mr Kimani and the taxi driver were eventually abducted as they left the Mavoko Law Courts after a hearing and murdered on June 23, 2016.