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Mutula death threats came from maid

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY ALPHONCE MUNG'AHU AND ANNETTE WAMBULWA
Threat to Kill Mutula
Irene Nduku Kasilu is led to the cells after pleading guilty of threatening to kill the Min.of Education Mutula Kilonzo through an SMS.Photo/Philip Kamakya.

A 25-year-old house help from Kayole yesterday admitted sending a threatening text message to Cabinet minister Mutula Kilonzo. Mutula had last month told Parliament that his life was in danger after receiving a short text message on his mobile phone saying hitmen had been hired to eliminate him. Police investigations led to Irene Nduku Kasilu, who was yesterday arraigned before a Nairobi court where she pleaded guilty.

Kasilu appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Nyambura and admitted sending the message to the Education minister on June 26 at 3.08pm. She allegedly did this with other people not before the court. She said she had been instructed to send the text by her boss, Boniface Thiani Mutiewa, whom she claimed was linked to the Somalia militia group al Shabaab.

Kasilu said Boniface was linked to the Assanands House blast in Nairobi's Moi Avenue that killed one person and injured several others. Kasilu gave Boniface's phone number as 0737051194 and said he was her boss and she was therefore compelled to carry out his instructions. “Minister Mutula Kilonzo be ready to die. We were send (sic) by our boss to come to ur place Runda this weekend and shot (shoot) you to death. So Mutula be ready to die this coming wkd we will even expose ur whole house in Runda,” read the text message.

Prosecutor Bridget Kanyai said investigations revealed that Boniface was a caretaker at Bellway Gardens in State House Road. According to Kasilu, Boniface was behind the threat to Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara and the same day issued orders to shoot a policeman in Kiambu and take his gun. She added, in broken English, "He is the one who connected the explosion in Ngara Church on April 29 even in Mombasa on March 31 and many places. He has big connection in Al shabaab. We have done many explosion with him."

The prosecutor said Mutula reported the threatening text message to the Parliament police station on June 28. At the time, Mutula attributed the threatening text messages to his stand on a number of politically sensitive and controversial issues. The former Justice minister cited his outspoken stand on the Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC), investigations into the loss of free education funds and constitutional reforms as possible reasons he was being targeted.

Investigations conducted by cybercrime experts however led to the arrest of the house help. Kanyai said that further investigations showed the accused was not known by the minister. Asked by the magistrate whether the facts as read in court were correct, Kasilu, who was unrepresented, said yes and was convicted on her own plea of guilty.

Kanyai said that while Kasilu was a first offender, there was a need for the court to issue a stiff sentence as a deterrent to others and reduce the prevalence of such offences. She said the security of the state should not be taken lightly. In mitigation, Kasilu said she was sorry and asked for forgiveness. Asked why she had sent the message, Kasilu explained she was not actually the one who did. She said a friend, whom she identified only as Maureen and who was employed as a household by one Wanyoike in Kayole estate, had borrowed her phone and sent the message.

Magistrate Nyambura expressed doubts that Kasilu was telling the whole truth and ordered that a probation report be submitted to her before sentence.  Kasilu was remanded in custody until July 25 when the pre-sentencing report will be submitted in court.