My nephew the criminal: How I spent five years in jail for robbery I didn't know of

From right Kevin Matundura, Josephine Waihuni and Joram Njoroge when they appeared before court on February 14, 2018, for the hearing of their robbery with violence and sexual assault case. Matundura and Njoroge were convicted while Ms Waihini was acquitted. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

On March 15, 2017, Josephine Waihini was attending a church service in Bahati when she received an unusual call.

The caller introduced himself as a detective based in Nakuru who was investigating a robbery incident that had occurred the previous night in the neighborhood.

More shocking was the news that some firearms had been recovered buried in her one-acre farm compound and stolen goods also recovered in her house.

In panic she had to stop the service midway to rush to her home, which was few meters away. 

A thousand and one things ran in her mind as she could not comprehend the whole story.

Upon arriving at her house, she was shocked to find her nephew Joram Njoroge and another young man in hand cuffs.  Several police officers were at the scene some guarding the two young men while others searching the house.

With them were two firearms namely a blow 99 pistol and a hestal machine gun as well as 42 belted ammunition and a magazine. They also had a sewing motor machine recovered from the house.

Kelvin Matundura inside the detention cells at the Nakuru Law Courts on January, 23, 2023

Photo credit: Joseph Openda | Nation Media Group

Before she could understand the situation, she was immediately arrested and without a haste bundled to an awaiting police land cruiser and ferried to Bahati Police station.

It was during her time at the police cells when she learnt that her nephew was suspected to be part of armed gang of robbers that raided the home of a businessman James Wamugunda.

The following morning, she was arraigned before a Nakuru Chief magistrates court where she, her nephew Njoroge and the young man whom she learnt his name to be Kevin Matundura, jointly charged with offence that not only shocked her but also embarrassed her to the core.

The charges against them included robbery with violence, possession of firearms and gang rape.

They denied the charge and were released on bond but could not raise the huge amount required in exchange for their freedom. So, they had to remain in remand throughout the trial.

During the trial is when she discovered that her nephew had not only taken part in the 8-hour robbery but had also sexually assaulted a house help in the same home.

The said house help, she learnt, had also captured the heart of her nephew’s accomplice that is Matundura whose efforts to win her over blew their cover.

That, Matundura had contacted the house help on the day after the robbery and apologized for his gangs’ action and requested her for a lunch date.

The date is the cause of their arrest after the woman turned up in the company of the police.

Upon arrest, Matundura confessed to taking part in the robbery and is the one who had led the detectives to her house where he claimed they had buried firearms.

Her own granddaughter whom she lived with also testified as a prosecution witness when she said that she had seen her uncle when he arrived home at 5 am on March 15 carrying a large brown bag which he kept under the table.

The three were placed to their defense after the prosecution made a case against them.

During the hearing it emerged that the police resolved to treat Ms Waihini as a prosecution witness but failed to withdraw charges against her leading to her prosecution.

Nakuru Principal magistrate Yvone Khatambi in her ruling noted that the prosecution had failed to link her to any of the charge preferred against Ms Waihini.

According to the magistrate, Ms Waihini had convinced the court that she was not aware that her nephew had buried the firearms in her compound, and neither was she present in the planning and execution of the robbery.

She sighed a relief on December 23, when the court acquitted her granting her freedom after five years.

“It is evident that the second accused person Ms Waihini was not aware that the firearms and ammunition had been buried in her farm. On the premise I find that the evidence on record is not sufficient to convict the accused person of the charge of robbery with violence,” said the magistrate.

However, the nephew was convicted of robbery with violence and rape while Matundura was found guilty of robbery with violence as well as possession of firearms without license.