What you need to know:
- Nine detained officers of the disbanded Special Services Unit have claimed they are under pressure to implicate former DCI boss George Kinoti in exchange for their freedom.
- Through their counsel Danstan Omari, they told Chief Magistrate Diana Mochache yesterday that their arrest is politically instigated to settle scores.
- The magistrate postponed to next Thursday a ruling on an application by the prosecution to detain the suspects for 30 days.
Nine detained officers of the disbanded Special Services Unit have claimed they are under pressure to implicate former Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti in exchange for their freedom.
The nine are accused of Killing two Indians and their taxi driver.
Through their counsel Danstan Omari, they told Chief Magistrate Diana Mochache on Thursday that their arrest is politically instigated to settle scores.
They said since the bones and clothes that were recently retrieved from Aberdare forest by investigating officers said to be those of Mohammed Said Sami, Zulfiqar Ahmed and Nicodemus Mwania have been disowned by the families, holding them is infringing on their rights, especially the right to be freed on bail or bond.
“My clients are before this court just because the state wants to use them to settle political scores. It is their commander who is being targeted and they are under pressure to incriminate him and turn him into a state witness,” Mr Omari told the court yesterday.
“Even the bones and clothes that were allegedly retrieved (and suspected to belong to) the two Indians and their driver have been disowned by their families,” Mr Omari said.
Mr Sami and Mr Ahmed are said to have been working with a digital media team allied to President William Ruto when they were abducted near Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi on July 22.
However, investigating officer Michael Kirui told the court that since the investigations started, there have been threats on the lives of those involved in the case, therefore, releasing the accused on bail or bond could put the investigators at risk.
“There is genuine fear and anxiety. Preliminary investigations point to a larger network of individuals who are yet to be arrested and hold crucial information in our investigations,” Mr Kirui says in his affidavit while asking to continue detaining the accused.
But the defence demanded evidence to show that indeed his life and that of the other investigators are in danger.
“There is no OB which has been put before you to show that indeed there have been threats on their life. My clients have been in detention for over twenty days since their arrest and the state has failed to prove that indeed the respondents have a case to answer,” Mr Omari said.
Some of the contentious issues that the defence is protesting is subjecting the accused to a DNA test and their mobile phones to forensic examination.
Last week, the defence team objected to the miscellaneous application filed by the accused’s employer, the National Police Service, through the Internal Affairs Unit, saying the latter lacks jurisdiction to push for their prosecution.
They argued that issues to do with police indiscipline or brutality are dealt with by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. But the court dismissed the objections.
Last night, the magistrate postponed to next Thursday a ruling on an application by the prosecution to detain the suspects for 30 days.
Documents filed at Kahawa courts last month detail how four police officers shared the roles of executing the two Indians and their driver. Mr Kirui implicated Peter Muthee Gachiku, Francis Muendo Ndonye, John Mwangi Kamau, Joseph Kamau Mbugua in a sworn affidavit.
“It is believed that the first respondent (Peter Muthee Gachiku) was the operations commander in the planning, overseeing the abduction of Mohammed Zaid Sami and Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan together with their taxi driver, Nicodemus Mwania Mwange,’’ Mr Kirui said.
He explained that preliminary investigations had shown that the second respondent (Francis Muendo Ndonye) was driving one of the vehicles that were used to abduct and transport the three to the place where they were killed, while the third respondent (John Mwangi Kamau) is alleged to be the one who drove the car that was carrying the three victims to the Aberdare forest, where they were executed.
Another investigating officer, Wilhem Kibet, in a sworn affidavit, implicated the other five suspects – John Mwendwa Mbaya, David Chepcheng Kipsoi, Stephen Luseno Matunda, Paul Njogu Muriithi and Simon Gikonyo – in the killings.
The affidavit claimed that Mr Mbaya was in the company of the second accused, Mr Kipsoi, who was specifically placed at the Ole Sereni Hotel to follow the Indians.
Mr Matunda, Mr Murithii, and Mr Gikonyo were also alleged to have directly and indirectly participated in the murders. The fourth accused, Mr Kamau, is said to have been part of the killer squad. But Mr Kirui did not explain the motive for the alleged murders .