An order by a court that four policemen be charged with the murder of a British aristocrat's son has caused panic among officers who handled the case.
Alexander Ruman Monson, who was heir to the Monson baronetcy, died chained to a hospital bed hours after being arrested by police at a club in Diani on May 19, 2012.
A police investigation at that time suggested that Monson could have died of a drug overdose.
His family rejected this conclusion and accused the police of a massive cover-up by inventing the drug theory.
Following diplomatic pressure and petitions by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA, rights groups and Alexander's father Lord Nicholas, Kenyan authorities established a judicial inquest on circumstances of Monson's death.
From the inquest, Senior Principal Magistrate Richard Odenyo ruled that the list of suspects should not be limited to Sergeant Naftali Chege, Constable John Pamba, former Tourist Police Unit head in Diani Charles Munyiri and police constable Ismael Baraka Bulima.
In the ruling following the inquest, Mr Odenyo said the list would extend to other suspects who had been pushing the drugs theory or those that submitted contradictory information during the inquest to “obfuscate the facts" surrounding the death of Monson.
The subsequent summonses for the four have sparked panic among senior and junior police officers who worked in Diani during Mr Monson’s arrest and subsequent death.
Sources indicated that those on the IPOA and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) radar included officers suspected of committing illegalities identified in the magistrate’s report, which range from stealing Monson's money, beating him and engaging in a conspiracy to cover up his murder.
Others in the cross-hairs are police officers whose alibis were not solid when they testified.
In the wake of last Thursday’s recommendation of murder charges against the four officers, who were formerly based in Kwale, a senior policeman summarised on the extent of anxiety and panic within the force.
“Police job is very dirty, very dangerous and tedious. Things can change very fast,” he said as soon as Odenyo recommended murder charges against the four.
The senior officer was last Friday ordered by Justice Erick Ogola to ensure the four suspects surrender to the court on July 4.
In January, IPOA recommended the trial of six officers for Alexander’s death and named Chege and Munyiri as prime suspects.
Munyiri, who was Chief Inspector of Police in 2012, is believed to have left the force while the other three are still serving but in different areas.
Sources within IPOA told The Standard several witnesses, including some previously forced to flee or stay silent, have recorded statements implicating more suspects in Monson's unsolved death.
Last Thursday the magistrate accused the police of defaming Monson in death and trying to justify the Briton's death.
The magistrate said during the inquest, witnesses were staged to advance diversionary theories in what he described as a campaign of outright lies, false test results and improbable alibis.
“From the evidence adduced during the inquest, the prime suspects include, but not limited to No 48617 Sgt Naftali Chege, No 565391 PC John Pamba, Charles Wangombe Munyiri (formerly head of TPU in Diani police Station) and No 92373 PC Ismael Baraka Bulima,” ruled Odenyo, sparking shock among police officers in the public gallery as rights activists and the Monson’s relatives celebrated.
Lawyer George Egunza believes Odenyo's verdict was a victory for the rule of law and that is addressed the matter of police brutality and mistreatment of prisoners.
The verdict was followed by an application by the DPP for summonses for the four.
“I am directing the County Criminal Investigation officer to ensure the summonses with statement of charges are served on each officer to appear before this court on July 4, this year, to face murder charges,” ruled Odenyo.