How D- officers bungled probe on Kihiu Mwiri chain murders

Families of slain directors of a land-buying company have demanded justice as fresh information emerged on how police bungled investigations into the killings in Murang’a.

Failure to record statements from key witnesses and secure crime scenes, casual responses to distress calls and disregard for spent cartridges collected by residents after the shootings pointed to either negligence or cover up by detectives.

These emerged during interviews with relatives of those either murdered or who went missing, and whose search for justice appeared to hit a dead end last month.

The last four people charged with the killing of four directors of Kihiu Mwiri land-buying company in Gatanga were acquitted in July this year.

SEE ALSO :Kihiu Mwiri members cry foul over ‘fake’ titles

The killers of Peter Kimani Kuria, Paul Muhuhi Bernard, Josphat Kibe Nyoike and Zakary Chege Kiratu have never been found.

Key witnesses who spoke to The Standard said the cases were doomed to fail from the word go, going by the glaring inconsistencies and disregard for crucial evidence.

For starters, it was puzzling to the families of those killed and worried residents that murder scenes were not secured, allowing crucial evidence to be interfered with.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.

The victims’ families, who did not want to be named for their own safety, said despite handing over spent cartridges and some bullets, the same were not subjected to ballistic examinations and evidence tabled in court.

“Residents and those who witnessed the murders fear they were committed by people suspected to be police. Why didn’t they subject the cartridges to further examination to see if they were fired from guns belonging to law enforcers?” posed a relative of one of the slain men.

SEE ALSO :Macharia and Iria named in court over Kihiu Mwiri sour land deals

He questioned why the evidence of one of the crucial witnesses was disregarded. He claimed that the witness was not called to testify in court despite witnessing the murder.

“Can you imagine, a witness who told police she witnessed the murder failing to record a statement? Even the judge was baffled that despite being at the murder scene, the police never bothered to take her as a witness. Is there something they know that we don’t?” asked the relative.

Kimani’s wife

He was referring to the late Peter Kimani Kuria’s wife, Josephine, who was not a prosecution witness despite telling the police she saw the gunmen who confronted her husband and shot him dead.

“Josephine, for some reason, did not testify,” Justice Joel Ngugi remarked in his judgement acquitting the last four of 18 suspects initially charged with the killings in September 2015.

The judge termed the trial for the murders as “no more than a window-dressing exercise.”

Relatives and friends of the murdered directors now question why, despite the High Court judge returning a damning verdict against Government agencies the matter seems to have rested with no investigations opened against senior politicians and Government officials mentioned by witnesses.

So far, none of the officials mentioned have been asked to record statements despite adverse claims against them.

“One senior Government official has clearly been mentioned by many witnesses for threatening officials of Kihiu Mwiri who later disappeared or were killed but there were no attempts to record statements,” said one relative.

A witness in the cases claimed that there has been no attempt to investigate how a private company associated with a Cabinet secretary acquired over 150 acres of the controversial land.

“The genesis of this whole thing is the contention about how the company got the land without consent of all members. So the big question is, was there a deliberate attempt not to try to find out what transpired in the sale?” said the concerned family member.

Justice Ngugi said it had emerged during the hearing that besides the CS, a governor, county commissioner, a district commissioner, a district officer, a Member of County Assembly and a chief were also among the beneficiaries of the disputed land.

The judge ruled that the prominent persons were beneficiaries of some 240 acres hived off the 1,288 acres owned by Kihiu Mwiri ,and that the killings may have been meant to silence opposition to the illegal acquisition.

“There is definitely much to be said about a plausible theory of the murders which was seemingly neglected by the investigators: that the members of the Ministry of Interior working in the region; senior police officers; and senior government officials were heavily involved, and, indeed, may have funded the death and destruction that reigned in Kihiu Mwiri for almost a decade,” Justice Ngugi stated in his judgement on July 15.

No urgency

Following the killing of Kuria, a neighbour told The Standard that after reporting his fatal shooting, police did not treat the matter with the urgency or seriousness it deserved.

“In fact, two police officers who first came (to the murder scene) appeared drunk and were of no help despite this being a serious crime. Why didn’t they even comb the nearby coffee plantation to see if the assailants were still there? The family had stated clearly that the attackers had casually walked away into the plantation,” the neighbour said.

The above account is also captured in Justice Ngugi’s ruling with one of the witnesses recounting: “Two police officers who came appeared (so) drunk that we had to chase them away. Another group came later to collect the body and the bullets found.”

Since the murder case was dismissed by Justice Ngugi in July, tension has slowly been building at Kihiu Mwiri.

Last week, residents spoke of how police may have conspired to protect those who committed the crimes, who they suspect, are either police officers or Government agents.

Families of the slain directors also want answers about the killings.

“My wish is that the Government helps us get justice,” said Joyce Bitutu, whose husband, Chege was shot dead a few metres from their house.

“There has never been a goodwill by various parties to help us get what belongs to us,” said Kihiu Mwiri’s chairman, Pharis Maina.

Murang’a County Criminal Investigation Officer Julius Rutere said investigations touching on Kihiu Mwiri were being handled by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi.

“The matter was also investigated by headquarters, not my office,” he said. [Additional reporting by Boniface Gikandi]

The level of inconsistencies there is appaling, knowing how the unholy trinity ~judiciary, police & media~ operates, it may be a looong time before justice is a reality.

Their brains can only process the collection of 50 bob notes, so expecting them to conduct an actual investigation would be asking for too much.

Left right murder everywhere. Nimenoa fanga

Hii hata ni E- material

D- are assassins for hire.

Kihiu Mwiri ni kifo

whom did they wrong for them to be mudered?