The key suspect in the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani, Joseph Irungu alias Jowie, risks going back to prison for the remainder of the trial.
This is after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) applied to have his bail cancelled.
Ms Kimani was killed on the night of September 19 in 2018 at her apartment in Lamuria Gardens, Kilimani. Jowie and former television journalist Jacque Maribe were arrested a week later and charged with the murder.
The two suspects, who were in a romantic relationship at the time, were detained. But while Ms Maribe was released on Sh2 million bond after a month, Jowie spent a year at Kamiti Maximum Prison before being allowed to go home in March last year.
His freedom could however be short lived if the High Court agrees with the DPP that Jowie has violated the bail conditions issued by Justice James Wakiaga last year.
Jowie is currently out on a Sh2 million cash bail, money which was donated by friends and well-wishers after his family failed to raise the amount.
While releasing him, Justice Wakiaga cautioned Jowie against commenting on the case in the media or on social media platforms. He also ordered him to report to the area chief of his parents’ home in Nakuru, not to leave the country and to generally stay out of trouble for the duration of the case.
In documents filed in court applying for a cancellation of Jowie’s bail, the DPP through a sworn affidavit by Chief Inspector Maxwell Otieno of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has said that the suspect has failed to stay out of trouble.
Chief Inspector Otieno has said that in June, Jowie was involved in a fight at 1824, a night club along Lang'ata road in Nairobi. The matter was reported at Langata police station by a Rodgers Ochieng Okuta on March 7 who claimed he had been assaulted by Jowie at about 8:30pm.
“On March 7 while at 1824, Jowie assaulted Rodgers Okuta. But even though the complaint was withdrawn, it is quite clear that he has proceeded to commit a similar offence or crime resulting in bodily injury of another person while out on bail,” says Chief Inspector Otieno.
In his statement to the police on the matter, Jowie claimed that he was too drunk to remember what happened at the club on that night. He also said that he could only remember being assisted by a friend to board a taxi to Lang'ata Hospital where he sought treatment for a deep cut.
Jowie’s lawyer David Ayuo further said that the complainant had since withdrawn the matter after the two reached an agreement.
Additionally, the DPP says Jowie has been giving interviews on YouTube where the merits and demerits of the murder case are discussed, contrary to directives issued by Justice Wakiaga.
Furthermore, the DPP argues, Jowie does not live with his parents in Nakuru as he told the court he would when seeking bail.
Instead of assisting his parents at their chicken farm as promised, the DPP argues, the suspect lives in Nairobi and works for a private security company.
“The accused has not only gone against the honourable court’s finding on the location or place of abode when the honourable Judge granted the bail terms by being away from Nakuru County. He continues to move and reside within Lang'ata area, being the secondary crime scene and the locality of potential witnesses who have and are yet to testify,” said the DPP.
Additionally, the state says, the chief of the area where Jowie’s parents live in Nakuru has not been forwarding monthly reports to the Deputy Registrar of the High Court on whether the suspect has been reporting to him at the end of the month as ordered.
The matter is set to be determined on September 28 while the Monica Kimani murder trial will resume before the end of the year.
Twenty seven witnesses have so far testified.