NLC official was ‘raped, strangled with bare hands to death’

Jennifer Wambua

Former National Lands Commission deputy communications director Jennifer Wambua, who was found murdered and her body dumped in Kajiado County on March 12, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

Former National Lands Commission’s top official, Jennifer Wambua, was raped and strangled with bare hands to death, a post-mortem has revealed.

Speaking at the Montezuma Funeral Home in Nairobi Thursday, the chief government pathologist, Johansen Oduor, concluded that the cause of death was strangulation.

The body also had facial injuries, an indication that the victim had a physical altercation with her killers before she was overpowered.

The family’s pathologist, Joseph Ndung’u, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and experts from the Government Chemist were also present. Samples were collected for further analysis.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Noordin Haji, directed the Inspector-General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the barbaric killing of Ms Wambua, who was a key witness in a multimillion-shilling fraud case.

58 phone calls

Detectives are now under pressure to find out who killed the veteran journalist, and why. By Thursday evening, they had narrowed down their probe to the people behind the 58 calls that were made to Ms Wambua’s cell phone in the days leading to the murder.

Investigators are also trying to find out if she intentionally left her phone in the family car, or her killers did it to make it difficult for police to trace them.

Ms Wambua was one of the key witnesses in a corruption case involving Lugari MP Ayub Savula.

The legislator has been accused with 20 others, including his two wives, of defrauding the Government Advertising Agency (GAA) of Sh122 million.

Others on trial are former ICT Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere and former director of GAA Dennis Chebitwey. Ms Wambua was to be cross-examined three days before her disappearance.

State prosecutor Henry Kinyanjui told the court Thursday that she had testified on February 18.

“It has not yet been established whether her death is connected to this ongoing case against Mr Savula, Mr Itemere and Mr Chebitwey, among others,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

“To avoid speculation and in pursuant to Article 157 (4) of the Constitution, the DPP has directed the Inspector-General of Police (IG) to conduct thorough investigations into the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Ms Wambua,” he added.

Once investigations are done, the DPP will review the file and ensure the culprits are brought to book.

“Our instructions are to request this court to give us some mention date to confirm the status of the investigations and take further directions,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

Defence lawyers led by Karathe Wandugi supported the call for thorough investigations.

“Mr Kinyanjui is right in what he informed the court about investigations being conducted. We welcome the investigations so that no suspicion can bear from our side as this is an open ended request and we welcome it,” Mr Wandugi.


Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi said it was sad the witness had been killed before cross-examination. The first time Ms Wambua was due for cross-examination, it could not be done because she was unwell.

This caused the case to be adjourned. The matter was postponed for the second time as Ms Wambua had been involved in a traffic accident.

“In the third time, she was no longer available because she was no more, she had passed on,” said the chief magistrate.

Due to the circumstances, he ordered the prosecution to reorganise its case and conduct investigations on her death. He urged the prosecutions to work quickly so that hearing resumes even as the investigations are being conducted.

The case was adjourned to April 22 when the DPP is expected to inform the court the status of the investigations.

By Richard Muguti, Vincent Achuka and Brian Wasuna