Indians, their driver were taken to forest and killed, investigators say

Peter Muthee Gachiku, Francis Muendo Ndonye

From right: Peter Muthee Gachiku, Francis Muendo Ndonye, John Mwangi Kamau and Joseph Kamau Mbgua at the Kahawa Law Courts in Kiambu County yesterday. They have been accused of killing of two Indians and their Kenyan taxi driver.  

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

A damning affidavit filed at the Kahawa Law Courts yesterday detailed how two Indians and their Kenyan taxi driver were trailed, abducted and killed inside Aberdare Forest by a four-man squad from the now disbanded Special Service Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

Investigating officer Michael Kirui, in a sworn affidavit filed in court yesterday, said the three were marked men and it was a matter of when, not if, they would be killed. The affidavit does not highlight the motive for the murders, but sheds light on an alleged killer squad ready to pull the trigger and working closely with other rogue elements within the DCI.

Mr Peter Muthee Gachiku, Mr Francis Muendo Ndonye, Mr John Mwangi Kamau, and Mr Joseph Kamau Mbugua, who are accused of killing Mohamed Zaid Sami and Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan from India and their Kenyan taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania, were yesterday arraigned before Chief Magistrate Diana Mochache.

They did not take plea because the national Police Service (NPS), through the Internal Affairs Unit, has filed a miscellaneous application seeking to detain the four suspects for 30 days pending conclusion of investigations.

Documents filed at the court detail how the four policemen shared out roles in the assassination of the two Indians, who reportedly visited Kenya as part of a digital team that was working for President William Ruto’s campaign team ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan

Mr Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, on July 21, 2022, was in the Maasai Mara, in Narok County and was all smiles as he shared images of a lion inviting friends to join him for breakfast.

Photo credit: Courtesy

“It is believed that the first respondent (Mr Gachiku) was the operations commander in the planning [of the] abductions of Mohammed Zaid Sami and Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan, together with their taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania Mwange,” the investigating officer says in court.

Mr Kirui told the court that preliminary investigations had shown that the second respondent (Mr Ndonye) drove one of the vehicles used in the abduction of the three men.

Mr Kamau is alleged to have specifically driven the three men to Aberdare Forest, where they were killed.

The fourth accused, Mr Mbugua, is said to be part of the killer squad.

Police say they have relied on call data records in their investigations that have now revealed that the four accused were in constant communication, planning how to execute the murders.

“Call data records indicate that the first respondent communicated with the teams before, during and after the interception. He was also in communication late in the night with other persons of interest who are yet to be identified and it is believed he was briefing them on the operation,” says NPS in court papers.

The prosecution said that, after the arrests of the four police officers, their mobile phones were seized and are yet to be subjected to forensic examination, underlining the reasons it was seeking more time to hold the accused in custody.

“Preliminary investigations, including GPS [Global Positioning System] track logs and call data records, place the respondents, their vehicles and other actors at the scene of crime and the possible location where their bodies were dumped,” the application reads in part.

While pleading to have the four detained for 30 days, the police said the matter before them was complex and required more time.

Ms Mochache pushed the ruling on further detention to tomorrow, even as the defence lawyer, Mr Danstan Omari, objected, saying, the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

According to Mr Omari, the NPS Internal Affairs erred in making the application to detain the suspects because that is the prerogative of the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (Ipoa) or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

‘’We are objecting to a busybody called Internal Affairs Unit under the National Police Service that is purporting to appear before you on matter that it does not have the jurisdiction on. Your honour, it is only [Ipoa and ODPP] which have the mandate to hear this matter and file a miscellaneous application,” Mr Omari said in his submissions. “Matters of any police misconduct are dealt with by Ipoa and what you are witnessing now is a political witch-hunt,” he added.

“The investigation is complex and requires more time and collaboration with other government agencies, including [from] India where [the victims] hail from,” the police said.

Ms Mochache said she needed more time to make a detailed ruling on whether or not the four should continue being detained further.

“As at now, there is no charge sheet before me. The accused are just being investigated. Please accord them dignity and I would also need the name of the police stations where they will be detained until Wednesday when I will make a detailed ruling,” Ms Mochache said, while further directing that the accused should be given access to their legal teams.