Was it a cover-up? Top detective says Kenei was killed in cold blood

What you need to know:

  • DCI Kinoti also says Sergeant Kenei was directly involved in the fake arms deal racket that happened in the DP’s office.

  • Whereas Deputy President William Ruto’s aide insists the suspects were in Harambee House Annex for only 23 minutes, Mr Kinoti says they were there for one hour and 22 minutes.

The Director of Criminal Investigations yesterday put the office of the Deputy President in the spotlight as he announced to the media that the security officer found dead in the middle of an investigation into an arms deal was, in fact, killed in cold blood.

Mr George Kinoti revealed that Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei was directly involved in the activities that happened at the Harambee House Annex office of Deputy President William Ruto on February 13, the day former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and his co-accused Daniel Otieno Omondi, alias General Juma, Clifford Okoth and Kennedy Oyoo met the businessman who was meant to supply military ware.

“The motive of the cold blooded murder is very clear. It was to safeguard, protect and insulate or save the source from the adverse involvement and attendant consequences of using the military procurement process in the most deceitful and fraudulent manner,” Mr Kinoti said.

Mr Kenei, who was attached to the office of the DP, was killed a day before his body was found by neighbours.

Surveillance cameras in the building show Kenei receiving instructions from a caller and ushering Mr Echesa and his team into the VIP boardroom.

The group was in the offices for one hour, 22 minutes and 59 seconds, contrary to an earlier assertion by DP Ruto that Mr Echesa and the Polish businessmen were in the building for only 23 minutes.

After the meeting, Mr Echesa is seen leaving the office in the company of the two foreign businessmen using the VIP lift and, moments later, Kenei is seen walking out in the company of ''General'' Juma.

The former CS was arrested while leaving the office by DCI detectives acting on intelligence, alongside the businessmen, who were later released.

Yesterday, in a statement to the press, DP Ruto’s Chief of Staff Ken Osinde maintained the group was in the building for 23 minutes, from 9.38am to 10.02am. And that the footage broadcast by the DCI included activities outside the building.

On Thursday, the DCI also gave a reconstruction of what could have happened at Kenei’s house, reaching the conclusion that he was murdered and the set-up stage-managed to point to suicide.

Mr Kinoti said his office had sought CCTV footage from the DP’s office a day after Mr Echesa’s visit but were denied access to the server. The detectives were informed by the officer in charge of security that extracting the footage was not possible as it would interfere with the entire set-up.

“My officers were only shown 23 minutes of the footage, which had been taken away from various cameras and asked to record on their phones or with any other device,” explained the DCI.

The 23 minutes of edited footage only showed Mr Echesa and the two victims entering and leaving the DP’s office, leaving out Kenei and Mr Echesa’s co-accused persons.

As the details of the arms deal began to unravel, Mr Osinde wrote to the Inspector-General of Police on February 18 detailing 10 areas they wanted investigated over a possible security breach at the building.

On the same day, all officers who were on duty at the DP’s office received summons to visit the DCI headquarters to record statements on the events that occurred on February 13.

Another letter was sent to the IG on February 19, saying that any officer found culpable should be arraigned in court. This was the same day Kenei was expected at the DCI to record a statement alongside his colleagues.

Mr Kinoti noted that Kenei’s seniors did not seek to find out where he was when he failed to report to work that day. Neither did they seek to find out his whereabouts or visit his residence.

Both letters, according to Mr Kinoti, bore different letterheads. The reference and addresses used were also different.

He said Kenei’s seniors released an official statement about the officer’s disappearance without reporting the matter to any police station.

Mr Kinoti noted that the missing-person statement did not cite an OB number or any signal that ought to have been circulated after the missing-person report had been made.

On February 20, the detectives again visited the DP’s office accompanied by IT experts, who insisted on retrieving the entire footage from the servers.

“Despite protests, the same was allowed and our experts examined the servers forensically and, as opposed to the earlier sentiments, realised it was possible to extract the entire footage without interfering with its set-up. The footage leaves no doubt about the involvement of the deceased person in the fake military deal,” said Mr Kinoti.

According to Mr Kinoti, this reveals a deliberate, well planned attempt to conceal details of the fake arms deal and, more particularly, the person who was in contact with Kenei when Mr Echesa and his team visited the DP’s office.

“It is evident that throughout, he was receiving instructions or orders 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,” he said.

But the DCI did not reveal the suspects they are pursuing in their investigations.

Toxicology tests on samples taken from Kenei’s body will reveal whether he was drugged before he was killed.

Detectives believe Kenei might have been killed by professional assassins, who then placed his body in his living room. He was found wearing pyjamas and had no shoes. His door was not locked from inside and his bed showed no signs of disturbance.

Additionally, Kenei’s phone was found to be in factory settings and its SIM card missing.

On Thursday, Mr Osinde insisted that Mr Echesa’s entry into the office was a breach of security and that all the footage that was played by the DCI recounting the events of February 13 were true.

He claimed that the footage had been released by the office upon a request by the DCI.

“According to the CCTV footage, former sports CS Rashid Echesa and his accomplices were inside the building from 9:38:28 to 10:02:37 as confirmed by the footage aired at the DCI offices today. The rest of the time the CCTV played at the DCI shows their movements outside the office,” said Mr Osinde.

He also called on the DCI to expedite investigations.

“We still maintain that thorough investigations in areas indicated in our previous letters be conducted as well as into the death of Sergeant Kenei and anyone found culpable must be brought to book,” he said.