Willie Kimani case status report

Mwenda had claimed Leliman shot him after he lodged a complaint with the IPOA

In Summary

• Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri had been abducted as they left Mavoko Law Courts and their bodies were later recovered in the River.

• The Lawyer’s disappearance was highly publicized by his colleagues and family who said he had disappeared with his client and driver.

Lawyers demonstrate against the killing of Willie Kimani in Nakuru. /FILE
Lawyers demonstrate against the killing of Willie Kimani in Nakuru. /FILE

Over three years ago, an IJM lawyer, his client and taxi driver were brutally murdered and their bodies dumped at Oldonyo Sabuk River.

Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri had been abducted as they left Mavoko Law Courts and their bodies were later recovered in the River.

The Lawyer’s disappearance was highly publicized by his colleagues and family who said he had disappeared with his client and driver.

 
 

They were abducted on June 23, 2016, after attending court and a week later their bodies were discovered at the Ol Donyo Sabuk River in Machakos County.

After investigations four Administration Police Officers; Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, Leonard Mwangi  and police informer Peter Ngungi were arrested and charged with the murder of the three victims.

Willie and Mwenda, a boda boda operator, were in court to attend the case in which Mwenda had accused key suspect Leliman claiming he had issued death threats to him.

Mwenda had claimed Leliman shot him after he lodged a complaint with the IPOA after he lodged framed up charges against him.

All the five accused persons are still in remand as they wait for the case to conclude since they were denied bail by the court.

So far Justice Jessie Lessit has heard a total of 41 prosecution witnesses who have narrated to the court how the three were abducted and later murdered.

The court was told that a scheme was plotted by the accused persons that included trailing Willie and Mwenda on that fateful day in Mavoko Law Courts.

 
 

According to witnesses, Leliman feared that he would lose his job after Mwenda reported him to IPOA and he hatched a plot to eliminate him.

The most chilling evidence came from a confession statement recorded by Ngugi the police informer who is also the fifth accused person in which he incriminates Leliman in the murder.

His lawyers had opposed to the admission of the confession in court as evidence arguing that he never recorded it and the police did not use the right procedures to obtain the confession.

Ngugi claimed that he had been promised by police that he would be a prosecution witness and they allegedly enticed him with goodies further claiming that he was illiterate and there was no way he could have recorded the confession in English.

This led to Judge Lessit ordering for a trial within a trial to ascertain whether the confession would be admissible and after hearing both sides the court allowed the confession to be part of the evidence in the murder case.

In the confession, Ngugi narrates how he was approached by Leliman and told to trail Mwenda and after the court was over he informed Leliman.

So as Willie, Mwenda, and Muiruri left the court they were stopped a few meters from Mavoko law court where they were kidnapped and bundled into a car alleged to belong to Leliman.

They were taken to Syokimau AP post and held there for a while but when one of them wrote a note to a family member about their predicament they were removed that night and taken to a nearby field where they were each killed.

“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,” the confession reads in part.

Ngugi says when the three victims were taken to the field in Leliman’s car, Ngugi and another unknown person argued for hours whether to kill them or not.

The court has also heard the testimony of an IT expert who showed the court through CCTV that obtained the movements of the victim's car and Leliman’s car.

The court has also been told that Leliman’s police radio was traced that day and it was most of the key places including the Syokimau Police Post.

Kennedy Mwadime, the police IT expert, showed court video evidence of how Leliman’s radio phone moved around adding that the police radios are tracked at the Integrated Command Centre.

Mwadime told Justice Lessit that the investigations showed that Leliman’s radio was at Syokimau Police Post on June 23 between 12.20 pm and 12.40 pm.

Wanjiku and Cheburet who were officers at the police post are alleged to have been on duty on the day the three victims were taken to the post by Leliman.

However, according to witnesses Willie and the two were not booked into the cells as is the procedure when suspects are taken into cells their data was not anywhere but witnesses claim that they were held at the post.

Last year the accused had made a fresh application for bail asking the court to reconsider its decision to deny them bail when they had applied when they were charged.

However, Justice Lessit denied them bail for the second time ruling that the nothing had since the first time they applied for bail and so they will continue being in remand until their case concluded.

As the case resumes next week Monday, the court expects to hear testimonies from four prosecution witnesses who include two police officers and two officials from mobile phone companies.

The two police officers are the main arresting officers and the prosecution will use them to complete the dots to prove the prosecution watertight evidence.

The mobile phone company evidence is expected to show the court the phone numbers used by the suspects, geographical locations.

In this case, the prosecution has heavily relied on technology in the case which includes phone data, geographical locations and this is critical for the prosecution case.

The prosecution expects to close its case in March then leave the court to determine whether the accused persons have a case to answer or not.

The trial will resume on February 24 to Feb 27 and the court also set March 2,3,4,5 and 6 as the other hearing dates.