A senior police officer, his two colleagues and an informer removed human rights lawyer Willy Kimani, his client and a taxi driver from a police cell, killed them in an open field at night then used his car to transport their bodies to a river and dumped them there, a public prosecutor has told the High Court in Nairobi.
“Senior Sergeant Fredrick ole Leliman who was in charge of Syokimau AP Camp, his Deputy Sergeant Leonard Mwangi Maina ..., an informer Peter Ngugi Kamau and a suspect at large killed the trio in an open field at Soweto near Mastermind Tobacco on the night of June 23, 2016,” Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku said on Thursday when the trial of the four began before Justice Gladys Sitati.
He added: "The three were removed from Sgt Lelimani’s vehicle and killed one by one and their bodies loaded into gunny bags and transported to Athi River, where they were dumped at Ol Donyo Sabuk River.”
Mr Mutuku, who opened the trial of the five with a statement summarising the entire case, said “the mastermind of the killings is none else but Sgt Leliman who was being investigated by the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) and the International Justice Mission (IJM) over the shooting of Mwenda.”
Sgt Leliman was being investigated for the offence of unlawful shooting of Joseph Mwenda, Mr Kimani's client, whom he injured in April 2015.
Ipoa and rights body IJM, through Mr Kimani, were investigating Sgt Leliman and he “was fearing that he would lose his job therefore be hatched a plot to eliminate Mwenda, a boda boda operator.”
Mr Mutuku said Sgt Leliman enlisted his colleagues Mr Maina, Sylvia Wanjiku Wanjohi, Stephen Morogo and Mr Kamau, for whom he bought a mobile phone to monitor the movements of Mr Mwenda and his colleagues in his execution plot.
On the fateful day, June 23, 2016, Sgt Leliman instructed Mr Kamau to proceed to the Mavoko Law Courts in Athi River, Machakos County, to monitor Mr Mwenda, who was to appear at the courts for a traffic case.
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“Mr Kamau called Sgt Leliman, who drove to the courts in his private car, a Nissan registration KCG 959H, on which he had put a fake registration KBF 876E when a traffic case against Mwenda ended mid-morning,” the judge heard.
Sgt Leliman wanted to waylay Mr Mwenda, whom he had charged with gambling, blocking police from doing their work and possessing bhang, as he left the law court.
"Sgt Leliman blocked the vehicle ferrying Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda and Mr Muiruri at the railway crossing line then bundled them into his car and drove them to Syokimau AP post and detained them in a 40 feet container that had been converted into a cell and office,” Mr Mutuku stated.
At the cells they were received by AP officers Ms Wanjohi and Mr Morogo, who have denied ever locking up Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda and Mr Muiruri.
“While at the cells, Kimani wrote on a toilet paper to relay a message to his wife that he had been arrested and his life was in danger. The paper was picked by a boda boda operator .”
Mr Kamau failed to drive the taxi cab to Meru and left it at Ruthimitu in Limuru, Kiambu County.
Mr Mutuku said he would rely on Safaricom data, and the police communication gadget that allegedly placed the accused at the centre of the killings.
The five have denied murdering Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda and Mr Muiruri on June 23, 2016 at Soweto in Syokimau, Mlolongo.
The prosecution will call 60 witnesses.