A police informer who played a key role in the killing of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwendwa and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, yesterday gave a chilling blow-by-blow account of the murders that were planned and executed by four police officers on a vengeful mission.
In a 21-page confession by Peter Ngugi, one of the accused in the murder trial, the court heard how the three victims were trailed, kidnapped, brutally murdered and their bodies dumped in a river.
The statement, which was read out in court by Chief Inspector Geoffrey Kinyua, reveals how the lawyer and the taxi driver became victims of a murder plot against Mwendwa, a boda boda rider seeking justice over alleged police brutality.
“The first victim who was the main target (Mwendwa) was killed using a polythene bag and a rope. His body was stashed in a sack and put in a boot. At around 11pm, the second victim was taken to a different corner and killed in the same style. After he died he was put in two sacks because he was tall and couldn’t fit in one sack. His body was then taken to the boot. The third one was strangled to death using a rope and polythene bag,” the court heard.
The chilling confession, read out be- fore Justice Jessie Lessit, reveals that the murder was planned and executed by Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, who had a vendetta against Mwendwa for having filed a complaint against him at the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the International Justice Mission after he shot him in the leg.
Leliman enlisted three of his colleagues and the informer to execute the murders.
The four AP officers—Leliman,Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku and Leonard Maina Mwangi — and Ngugi (police informant) are all facing murder charges over the 2016 killings that shocked the nation.
In his confession, Ngugi walked the court through his journey to becoming a police informer. He said in 2011 while working as a boda boda rider in Waithaka, area he was approached by the officer in charge of Kabete police station on claims that he was collaborating with criminals.
After persistent harassment by the police, he took himself to the station and asked to see the Officer Commanding Station and they struck a deal – the harassment would stop if he agreed to become a police informant.
The relationship with police continued even after the OCS was transferred to Bungoma.
In April 2016, the OCS, who had been transferred to Mlolongo Police Station, called him and asked him to visit him. In one of his visits, he was introduced to three police officers, among them Sergeant Leliman.
“I met him (Leliman) again in May 2016, and he told me that the said person was really pushing for his dismissal and he was being assisted by IPOA and his case was set for hearing on June 23, 2016 and he, therefore, wanted us to act when that day comes,” Ngugi said.
Ngugi says he met Leliman on June 22, 2016 at the police canteen and he told him his plan was still on to kill the wanted man (Mwendwa).
“What he wanted me to do was to follow him after the court attendance and inform him about his movement,” he stated.
Ngugi says the following day, on June 23, he left his house at around 5.30 am and arrived in Mlolongo town at around 7.30 am. While on his way to the police station, he met Leliman on the road. He was driving a white car.
“He was accompanied by a lady who was sitting at the back and I got in the front seat. He introduced the lady as one who would identify the wanted man to me,” Ngugi stated.
Leliman later dropped them off at Mlolongo stage so they could board a matatu to Mavoko law courts in Athi River.
“He gave me Sh2,000 and he told me to give Sh1,000 to my female colleague. He had given me another Sh2,000 the previous day for fare,” the court heard.
According to Ngugi, they arrived at the court at around 9am and the woman showed him the “wanted” man from a distance of about five to six metres.
“She told me, ‘Kamutu yako ndio hiyo’, meaning ‘that is your man’… I easily identified him because Sergeant Leliman and the lady had told me that he was a small-bodied man and short in stature,” he revealed.
Ngugi says he remained outside the courtroom for almost two hours as the case took long to be called out.
“The wanted man came out at around 11am accompanied by another man (lawyer); I called Leliman and told him he was accompanied by another man. Leliman said the other person was also a‘thief’,”he stated.
Ngugi said lawyer Kimani, his client Mwendwa and the taxi driver were abducted as they left the court compound and forced into Leliman’s car.
“Sergeant Leonard Maina Mwangi stopped the wanted man’s car and they stopped immediately. Mwangi told them that we were officers and that the three were under arrest. They were told to get out of the car and enter Sergeant Leliman’s car. They did not argue. They complied with the orders,” he said.
Ngugi says he took possession of the taxi and drove it. Sergeant Leliman overtook him on the way and they drove straight to the Syokimau AP post.
“As agreed earlier, my assignment was to dispose off their vehicle. The original plan was to drive to Meru and leave the car there. However, I was told on phone he had interviewed the driver who told him that his taxi was operating around Zimmerman, therefore, driving that route would be risky and the car did not have sufficient fuel and that would be risky, too,” said Ngugi.
The police informer said he decided to drive to Limuru because he knew the area well and at around 3pm, he abandoned the vehicle at Kwambira area.
“Another thing that was disturbing my me was that the three had left their phones in the car. I switched off four of the five phones, but I was unable to switch off one of them. After parking the car at Kwambira, I threw away the phones. While still there, I called Leliman and told him I was on my way to Syokimau,” he says in the confession.
“He told me that they were still at Mlolongo and that I should find them there. I arrived in Mlolongo at 5pm and found Sergeant Mwangi and Leliman and other officers at Connection Bar. They told me that the victims were safe at Syokimau AP post,” he said.
Justice Lessit heard that Leliman was called and told that one of the victims had managed to call his wife and told her he had been locked up at Syokimau and that he had no idea where his car was.
“We went to the AP post where Mwangi handcuffed them. They were all put in the boot of a car before we drove along the Nairobi-Mombasa road into a bush,” he said.
“After a few minutes, Kamenju (a police officer suspected to be Stephen Che- buret) joined us while still in the bush. We started to disagree on how to kill the victims. Myself and Mwangi were of the view that we had been exposed and the best thing was to release the three. However, Leliman and Kamenju insisted that the three must be killed,” he said.
Ngugi said they argued for more than three hours and at about 9pm, they decided to kill them.
The informant revealed how the three were strangled, stating that his role was to hand the victims over to Sergeant Mwangi, who would take them to Leliman and Kamenju, who would then strangle them. One-by-one, the bodies would be placed into the boot.
“After all the three victims were killed we took off using the Nairobi-Mombasa road and Kamenju, who claimed to have worked at Ol Donyo Sabuk, was to lead us to where we would dispose off the bodies. When we reached the scene, we threw the bodies into the river,” he said.
Ngugi said they drove back using the same route and at 4am they arrived at Mlolongo town where they went into a pub “near an Asian restaurant” and had their “supper”.
“After we had our supper, Leliman left at 4.30am, Mwangi followed a few minutes later on foot because he lived around the place while Kamenju left much later in the morning. I was left in the bar where I slept on the seat since I had drunk a lot of alcohol which gave me a blackout,” he stated.
The hearing continues today
By Bernice Mbugua, People Daily