Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Mohamed Amin
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DCI: Why we arrested and locked up Nairobi lawyer Beatrice Ng'ethe for days

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Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Mohamed Amin. He confirmed the release of lawyer Beatrice Ng'ethe on Febriary 11, 2024.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Detectives have revealed why they arrested and locked up a Nairobi-based lawyer for days in connection with the daring escape of murder suspect Kevin Kinyanjui Kang'ethe from Muthaiga Police Station.

Ms Beatrice Ng'ethe was released on Sunday evening after spending two days in a cell at Pangani Police Station following her arrest on Friday.

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) picked her up from her house in Kiambu County on Friday morning as she prepared breakfast.

Kevin Kang'ethe

Kevin Kang'ethe before Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina at Milimani Law Courts on February 01, 2024, where he has been brought on extradition proceedings against the murder of Margaret Mbitu in the United States of America. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

Officers looking into the case on Sunday intimated that Ms Ng’ethe, who is Mr Kang'ethe’s cousin, became a person of interest after phone records revealed that she was in communication with the fugitive days before he strolled out of Muthaiga Police Station without a trace.

DCI boss Mohamed Amin told the Nation that Ms Ng'ethe was interrogated in connection with the escape that put Kenyan police to shame— just days after Washington DC, through its embassy in Nairobi, gave them a pat on the back for arresting Mr Kang'ethe.

Muthaiga Police Station

People walk past the entrance to Muthaiga Police Station in Nairobi on February 8. Kevin Kang’ethe (inset), who is accused of killing his girlfriend in the US and fleeing to Kenya, escaped from the station. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

On the run for more than four months now, the fugitive, who was busted while partying in a club in Westlands, was being held over the murder of his girlfriend Margaret Mbitu in Boston.

"Police are investigating her alleged role in the escape but she has already been released," said Mr Amin.

Ms Ng'ethe’s close friends and relatives told the Nation that she had indeed communicated with Mr Kang'ethe, but all he wanted was legal advice on how to handle the case before he is deported to the US where a warrant of arrest was issued against him.

Margaret Mbitu, 30, was found dead in a parking lot at Logan Airport in Boston, US. 

Photo credit: Missing Person Poster

"It is true that Kinyanjui approached her, but all he wanted was legal advice on how he would deal with the murder case and the plans to extradite him to the US," said the friend who spoke in confidence due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Police said a day before the murder suspect vanished into thin air, the lawyer was at Muthaiga Police Station to see him.

An officer attached to the station said the lawyer was allowed to speak to Mr Kinyanjui.

"They talked for some time," the officer said.

On the day of her arrest, Ms Ng'ethe had just woken up and was preparing breakfast when she heard a knock on her door.

She went straight to the door to find out who her visitor was, a rare occurrence on her doorstep at 7am, only to meet four strangers— two women and two men.

The four then introduced themselves as officers from the DCI who wanted to talk to her about some matters. When asked to produce their badges, they did so.

Muthaiga police station,

A bus stop next to Muthaiga Police Station in Nairobi on February 8, 2024, where Kevin Kangethe, who is accused of killing a woman in the US, is said to have boarded a matatu after escaping from police cells. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

CCTV footage seen by the Nation shows the four officers avoiding looking at cameras at the entrance of the building.

Two of the officers remained in the car, a Subaru Outback, which is commonly used by DCI detectives.

Ms Ng'ethe was with a friend when the officers knocked on the door, and the friend (name withheld for privacy reasons) insisted that she accompany them.

The lawyer was asked not to call and cause worry to any of her relatives as they would release her “later in the day” but two days later, this had not happened.

After ransacking the house as if they were looking for something, they left with the duo.

The Nation understands that the snoopers took them to Kiambu Police Station and instead of following the normal procedures and arresting them, they took them to the canteen where they started interrogating them.

Later, Ms Ng’ethe’s friend was told to go home as they only wanted the lawyer. She tried to resist this suggestion but the officers became harsh, forcing her to leave.

It was the friend who then informed the lawyer’s family. Mr David Ng'ethe, the lawyer's brother, then tried to call his sister but she did not answer the calls.

The family then quickly decided that Ms Rahab Wanjiku, the lawyer's grandmother, should call her.

"After four missed calls, she finally picked up and told our grandmother that she was fine. When she tried to inquire about her whereabouts, a female officer took the phone away and informed her that she was fine before hanging up," he said.

Since the call to the grandmother, the family had not heard from the lawyer as her phone was being turned on and off.

Mr Ng’ethe decided to follow up at the DCI headquarters and the Kiambu Police Station instead.

At Kiambu Police Station, the family was turned away by officers who said they would not register the case there.

"I then decided to go to the DCI headquarters but the officers there said they were not aware of such a case," Mr Ng’ethe told the Nation.

He continued to investigate and visited Muthaiga Police Station where officers also said her sister was not registered there.

He said he then visited Karen police where he found the vehicle that was used by the DCI to ferry her but he was still told that she had not been booked there.

The lawyer's abduction had prompted a call by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) for protests outside the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road on Monday morning.

LSK president Eric Theuri described the arrest as an outrageous attack on the legal profession that should be met with protests.

"We have instructed a lawyer to file an urgent habeas corpus application. We are also calling on our members to show up in large numbers at the DCI headquarters on Monday to protest this outrageous attack on the legal profession. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," he said.