Kinoti promises more arrests as second suspect detained for 14 days

Ex-Kanyandoto Member of County Assembly Lawrence Mula when he appeared before Kisii Senior Principal Magistrate Nathan Lutta on 10/9/2018 in connection with Sharon Otieno's murder. (Sammy Omingo, Standard)
Police have promised more arrests in relations to the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said they had covered more ground and were waiting for “a few results” before making more arrests.

“Watch the next 24 hours. We are moving to arrest more suspects, as the probe goes on,” Mr Kinoti said yesterday evening.

Yesterday, Lawrence Mula, the former Kanyadoto MCA, was arraigned in a Kisii court in connection with the murder. The prosecution was allowed to detain him for 14 days as investigations continue.

Mr Mula is the second suspect to be arrested after Migori Governor Okoth Obado’s aide Michael Oyamo, who appeared in court yesterday and will be formally charged today (see separate story). Yesterday, the prosecution said Mula had crucial links with three other suspects who were yet to be apprehended.

State counsels Emily Waegulu and Amos Otieno told Senior Resident Magistrate Nathan Lutta the suspect was a person of interest in the case.

“He has links with some of the suspects that we are yet to arrest and we are asking the court to grant us more time to continue with the investigations,” said Mr Otieno.

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Head of murder division

Meanwhile the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has sent head of murder division in his office Tom Imbali to guide investigators.

Mr Imbali is a seasoned prosecutor, who has handled a number of high profile murder cases. He was in court in Homa Bay when Oyamo appeared there as the prosecution sought more time to hold him. Kinoti did not say who they targeted for arrest. Among those targeted for interrogation was Mr Obado, an official told The Standard.

Obado has a team of lawyers ready to represent him if he is called to record statements by police. A source said even the governor’s relatives and friends could be interrogated if the need arose. “This thing may spread to others, but let us wait and see,” the source said.

Police are relying on telephone communication of various people who have been adversely mentioned. The officers are interested in four prime suspects who have been mentioned as the killers of Sharon. They are still at large, a week after the incident. The car they used is yet to be impounded.

In their application against Mula, the prosecution said a homicide team from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters had been looking for Mula as a suspect.

According to Otieno, the suspect could be charged with abduction and subsequent murder once the investigations are complete. “The suspect has been adversely mentioned by witnesses and other suspects. He is an important person in the murder case of the slain university student,” said the counsel.

The court heard that the former MCA was arrested on Sunday evening.

The prosecution told the court detectives investigating the case were yet to conclude interrogation of the suspect.

“We want to remain faithful to the Constitution and the suspect’s rights. Upon getting enough evidence, we will be back to court,” said Otieno.

He further told the Court more information would be presented to the Cyber Forensic team in Nairobi to analyse the suspect’s phone calls and any other data connected with the accused.

“The purpose of requesting for more time is for the benefit of the accused. We need to bring the right charge sheet before the court. The public is also baying for his blood, and we couldn’t wish that something bad happens to him.”

For only a few days

In his defense, Mula pleaded with the magistrate to allow the prosecution to detain him for only a few days.

“I am not against the application, but I’m requesting that I be allowed to stay in police for fewer days. I am not feeling well and need to (see) my doctor for medication,” Mula said.

The magistrate ordered that the accused be remanded at Kisii Central Police Station and appear in Court on September 24, to take plea.

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