Murder most foul: Kinoti fails to crack Kenei's killing

Despite breathing fire, the top detective is yet to crack the murder 11 months later

In Summary
  • Kenei's murder allegedly plotted and executed by "high and the mighty" is still unresolved 11 months later.
  • He was not an ordinary cop. It would later emerge that he was a member of the DP's inner ring of trusted security officers based at the Harambee Annex office.
The late Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei.
The late Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei.

Despite DCI George Kinoti saying AP sergeant Kipyegon Kenei was killed by powerful individuals, the  killing remains unresolved 11 months later.

The discovery of Kenei's body with a single bullet in a servant quarters at Villa France estate in Imara Daima on February 20, not only shocked the nation but also left more questions than answers.

The fact that Kenei was attached to Deputy President William Ruto's office and that he had a few days earlier been at the centre of a military guns tender drama brought more attention to his killing. 

Kenei was not an ordinary police officer. It would later emerge that he was a member of the DP's inner ring of trusted security officers based at the Harambee Annex office.

“The death of the officer was not an ordinary murder. It was a high-stakes execution aimed at sending out a strong message,” a senior Director of Criminal Investigation officer said.

According to the officer, the probe into Kenei's murder is still active but has encountered many 'roadblocks', which he said threaten to derail the whole investigation.

“It will have to take a while before this complex investigation is concluded,” the officer, who sought anonymity, told the Star.

He, however, said up to 90 per cent of the ground work has been pieced together.

The revelations only add into the agony of Kenei's family, which had hoped that the killers of the 33-year-old sergeant would be brought to book the soonest.

None other than DCI chief Kinoti concluded that Kenei was eliminated to conceal evidence into the botched Sh39 billion military arms tender.

The policeman had handled ex-Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and his alleged fake arms dealers at the DP's Harambee House Annex office.


Kinoti moved with gusto to demonstrate to the country that his office had the technical expertise to unravel the mystery of the murder, whose timing was linked to the military guns scam.

From heavily deploying officers for a 24-hour vigil at the Kenei's Imara Daima house to the public display of re-corrections of the events that could have transpired before the officer was killed, Kinoti vowed to leave no stone unturned.

But almost an year after this display of bravado on nailing Kenei's killers, the case remains part of the statistics in the grisly catalogue of unsolved murders that could haunt the DCI in the New Year.

Kenei's murder could have passed as other low-profile execution until DCI swung into action moments after police officers had moved the body from the crime scene after concluding that it was another case of  suicide inn the police service.

In fact, Kinoti — who visited the scene as many times as possible to demonstrate his resolve to crack the murder — had to order the officers to return the body to the scene for thorough processing after suspecting foul play.

It was at this time that officers from the Homicide department under the command of Martin Nyaguto took over the scene alongside Forensics head Nicholas Kamwende.

In one of the most memorable instances, Kinoti's team developed sketches and maps and demonstrated possible scenarios in efforts to piece together the murder scene.

Form the demonstrations, Kinoti personally rehashed the scenes at a media briefing on March 5, insisting that Kenei's murder was the work of powerful individuals in the corridors of power.

According to Kinoti, the killing was “necessary” to protect the powerful individuals from the consequences of using the country's military procurement process in the most “deceitful and fraudulent manner.”

“The involvement of the deceased in the complex activities clearly shows he didn't have a chance. It is evident that throughout, he was receiving instructions or directions from a certain source. It is manifest that the stakes must be so high and adverse that it could be dangerous to expose the source,” Kinoti explained.

In a rare move that day, the DCI boss laid bare the circumstances under which Kenei died, concluding that the DP's guard was murdered in connection with the Sh39 billion fake military arms tender allegedly involving Echesa.

With the passing of time, the "powerful people" Kinoti said eliminated Kenei to protect, safeguard and insulate themsleves in connection with the arms scandal have never been arrested for prosecution.

“This is a murder that was most obvious by observations but complex in the nature of its execution and planning," security analyst Bonface Khalisa said.

According to Khalisa, it would be nearly impossible for Kinoti's team to crack the murder they took to the doorstep of the DP's Harambee Annex office.

“Kinoti's displays were just public stunts meant to further cover up the murder and not to resolve it,” Khalisa told the Star.

Kinoti had furiously alleged that the murder was orchestrated by people linked to the military arms scandal and who wanted him out of the way following the bungled deal.

“Our colleague's murder is 100 per cent linked to the ongoing investigations. It was not suicide as initially perceived but pure murder, well executed and stage-managed,” Kinoti said.

Kenei had days before played a central role in ushering in Echesa into the DP's waiting room alongside two foreigners who were allegedly in the country to ink the Sh39 billion arms deal.

This incident, which was captured by CCTV, according to Kinoti, made Kenei a key figure in the entire saga as well as a potential witness on what actually transpired at Harambee House Annex.

In what lifted the lid on the intrigues surrounding the probe, Ruto launched a vicious attack on Kinoti, claiming he was using Kenei's murder as part of an orchestrated war to undermine and destroy his office.

Speaking during Kenei's burial in at his Chemasis village home in Nakuru county, Ruto claimed that the DCI had shifted focus to malign him and his office instead of pursuing the killers.

"I know there is a bigger scheme to destroy my office and ensure I do not go anywhere. The schemers are trying to threaten, undermine and demean my office in a bid to stop me. They may have the system but I have God," an agitated DP said.

According to Ruto, Kenei was possibly killed for political reasons mainly to spark a conflict between him and his community.

"Wale wanaopanga hii njama eti wanipiganishe mimi na jamii yangu, shauri yao (those who are behind all these are planning to cause conflict between me and my community)," Ruto said.

The DCI boss had discounted Ruto's initial claim that Echesa was at his Harambee Annex office for a mere 23 minutes in what sparked a war of words with the DP's office.

Kinoti had produced CCTV footage showing that the ex-CS and his accomplices spent at least 1:22:59 hours at the second most powerful office in Kenya.

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