Detectives in Mtwapa, Kilifi County, have been given 10 days to investigated eight people arrested in connection to the murder of businessman Sidik Anwarali Sumra , his driver and a land agent.
The eight are suspected to have played a key role in the murder and relocation of the bodies of Sumra, Rahil Mohamed Kasmani and Mr James Kazungu Kafani from the scene .
The police had sought 21 days to detain the suspects but Shanzu Chief Magistrate Florence Macharia Monday said the 10-day period was reasonable.
“The police are hereby allowed to hold the respondents for 10 days to conclude their investigations,” said the magistrate.
The suspects are Robert Mganga Mwagosha, Daniel Karisa Mwaro alias Mbosso, Laban Mwataro, Anthony Wanje , Geoffrey Upanga, Robert Nicholus Kibandika, Cliff Ngombo and Patrick Kilesi.
An affidavit filed by Mr Dennis Isemek, who is investigating the murder, indicates that data analysis shows the eight were at the crime scene when the victims were killed and their car set ablaze.
The police say that Mr Mwagosha is the treasurer of the Junju 72 land committee, who was mandated to spearhead the acquisition of the land, which Sumra wanted to purchase.
After the murder of the three, the police say that Mr Mwagosha fled from his residence in Junju and even changed the mobile phone numbers he had been using to avoid being tailed.
“He went further to register another mobile number in his wife’s name so that he could not be tailed and arrested by the police. It took the intervention of a multi-agency security team to arrest him in Nairobi,” Mr Isemek said.
According to the police, the multi-agency operation was extended to Kolewa forest where Mwaro and Mwataro were flushed out and arrested. The two are said to have been operating from the forest since the murder was executed in July.
They relied on family members and close friends for food supply.
The suspects, according to the police, deserted their homes for the past two months. Their arrest in the forest was spearheaded by Mtwapa Directorate of Criminal Investigations officer Phidelis Emaka.
Sh300 to move bodies
Eye witness accounts led to the arrest of the eight suspects.
Among those whose accounts were relied upon are a primary school pupil and a secondary school student, who were among those paid by the prime suspect to move the bodies from the crime scene.
According to the police, the witnesses were paid Sh300 for the job.
Mr Upanga, Mr Kibandika, Mr Ngombo and Mr Kilesi were arrested after they were found with Kazungu’s mobile phone, which went missing after he was killed.
Two witnesses led the police to Mr Upanga, who mentioned Kibandika, leading to the arrest of Mr Ngombo and Mr Kilesi, the one found with the mobile phone.
The suspects, save for Mr Mwagosha, are bodaboda operators in Mtepeni, which is about a kilometer to Junju, where the killing took place.
Police reports tabled in court shows that the bodaboda operators have been adversely mentioned as having aided in the murder of the three persons and the burning of their vehicle.
“If the respondents are released, they are likely to interfere with key witnesses as the investigating officer has written to the Witness Protection Agency for them to be protected,” Mr Isemek said
Preliminary investigations show that Mr Mwagosha in 2020 met with Mr Kazungu, who was with a land surveyor and former Junju ward MCA Onesmus Gambo Karisa.
The purpose of the meeting was identification of beacons in the 78 acres parcel of land that Sumra wanted to buy. They were, however, denied access to the property by the respondents.
According to the court documents, the land, CR21104 plot no 335, is a subdivision of a parcel on plot number 72, measuring 78 acres and is the property of Apple Valley ltd.
“On July 7, Mr Mwagosha was at his workplace when the deceased arrived , and he was among the suspects who interrogated the deceased persons and later killed them,” Mr Isemek said.
Phone numbers changed
After the murder, the police went on to say that Mr Mwagosha paid people Sh300 to drag the bodies from the crime scene and dump them next to where their vehicle was parked, about 800 meters away.
“The respondents vandalised the vehicle, stole valuables and later burnt it. The respondents then deserted their residence and charged the mobile phone numbers they were using,” said the officer.
Mr Mwagosha was arrested on September 9 at his hideout at Ambuja Court in Tassia’s Fedha Estate in Nairobi while the rest were nabbed on September 10.
According to the police, Kazungu had pleaded in vain with the attackers, in their local dialect, to spare their lives.
A forensic analysis of the crime scene points at Mr Mwagosha as the key suspect.
The arrests came just days after Mr Karisa and Mzungu Shume Mwangemi secured bond terms after spending close to two months behind bars.
Mr Karisa and Mr Mwangemi have already been charged with the murder of the three people.
The two were on Thursday granted a Sh500,000 bond each after denying the murder charge.