•Ngira Karisa was sentenced to eight years in prison as part of plea bargain
•On Tuesday, he said prosecution did not keep their part of bargain to release him
A self-confessed murderer has recanted his statement, telling Mombasa High Court he was threatened by Nairobi CID officers to make the claims.
Ngira Karisa had entered a plea bargain with the prosecution after he and two others – Eddlied Mandi and Makonde Ruwa - were charged with murdering businessman Issack Kassim.
The businessman was on March 8 last year strangled to death according to records from rights group Muslims for Human Rights where the case was first reported.
Muhuri represents Kassim's family. Kassim body was found dumped at Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Malindi.
Mandi allegedly owed Kassim Sh9 million. She reportedly solicited the money to secure a county government contract for him. But she did not deliver and Kassim demanded back his money.
Mandi did not have it. At this point, she planned to get rid of Kassim, the court heard earlier.
Karisa agreed to the murder charge in return for a lenient sentence. He was to be a state witness.
Because of the plea bargain, the court in April handed Karisa an eight-year jail term instead of four he had requested. A murder charge can carry life .
Karisa testified against the other accused. He gave a graphic narration of how Mandi hired him to eliminate the businessman.
Karisa said he was coerced to kill and that was not his wish.
He also informed the court he was never involved the planning the murder.
On Tuesday, however, Karisa said his testimony was pure lies.
"I testified because I was not going to get jailed. I was to be released. I have already been sentenced contrary to what we agreed on," he told the court.
Karisa denied that Mandi hired him to kill Kassim.
“I lied because CID officers from Nairobi threatened me.”
Karisa said he drove several times from Malindi to Mombasa with the CID officers and he feared “something bad would happen to me along the journey”.
“That is why I agreed to their demands,” he said.
The forest where Kassim's body was found is along Mombasa-Malindi highway. Karisa claimed to have traveled on that road many times with the investigators.
Karissa denied he came to Mombasa to pick the deceased as he had claimed earlier.
“I did not leave my home that day. I was coached by the CID officers to say everything I said,” he said, adding he lied to frame Mandi.
The prosecution succeeded in having Karisa stood down.
Senior assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alloys Kemo said Karisa might have been influenced to recant his testimony.
“The accused was not remanded at Shimo La Tewa prison as per our request. He was taken to Malindi prison where other accused are. This now confirms our fears,” Kemo said.
“I’m surprised by the turn of events. We were on the same page when I spoke to the witness in the morning. We seek to find out how he was kept in custody.”
Kemo also said he needed to advise Karisa on the implications of his recanting.
Senior resident judge Erick Ogola adjourned the hearing to June 20.