Magistrate, police officers held over murder of lawyer

Nyeri magistrate Pauline Omungala and her late husband Robert Chesang at a past event. [Picture: Courtesy]
A serving magistrate was yesterday detained by police in the ongoing investigation into the killing of city lawyer Robert Chesang.

Senior Resident Magistrate Pauline Omungala Maisy Chesang, who is based in Nyeri, was held after she went to the Athi River Police Station where she had been summoned by police.

Maisy is Chesang’s widow.

Detectives said the magistrate and three other suspects, who are already in custody, will be presented in court today where police will seek orders to continue detaining them as investigations continue.

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Lawyer Assa Nyakundi yesterday said he would represent Maisy.

The magistrate’s arrest follows days of investigations into Chesang’s killing in Lukenya, Machakos County. The lawyer was shot and killed by gunmen who raided his house at Moke Gardens in broad daylight on February 17.

Machakos Directorate of Criminal Investigations head George Kisaka confirmed that Maisy had been detained.

Retired officer

The three suspects in custody are two serving police officers and a retired officer.

The retired officer, who left the service last year as commissioner of police, was arrested in Samburu on Saturday before being brought to Nairobi.

The two officers, who are attached to Mutuine Police Station in Dagoretti, Nairobi, came under scrutiny after it emerged that the car used to ferry the killers to Chesang’s house belongs to one of them.

One officer was arrested on Wednesday while the second one surrendered on Saturday at Athi River Police Station after learning that he was wanted.

The team investigating the shooting said they have strong evidence linking the officers to the killing.

Police said they recovered seven spent cartridges at the crime scene. Two cartridges were found in the house and the rest lay outside a window.

Ballistic tests

Detectives from Athi River visited Mutuine Police Station and confiscated eight AK-47 rifles for ballistic tests. After analysis, the officers said, it was established that two of the weapons had been used during Chesang’s attack.

An officer aware of the probe said that one of the suspects had posed as an intelligence officer, approached three police officers and told them that Chesang was a criminal and a thorn in the flesh of the Government.

The suspect had allegedly told the officers that the Government wanted Chesang eliminated because he had “disturbed the system for long”.

Investigations also revealed that the suspect offered the killers Sh181,000 to execute the lawyer.

“One officer has confessed he pulled the trigger. They were sent by one of the suspects in custody to eliminate Chesang after being duped that he was a criminal,” said the officer who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Love triangle

Detectives said the motive of the killing appeared to be a love triangle, adding that preliminary findings had shown that Chesang had expressed fears for his life and had not left the house for two days prior to his murder.

A car that the gunmen used during the attack was detained at the Athi River Police Station. Police said one of the officers in custody and his son had earlier been seen driving it in the area.

The lawyer had a long-running domestic dispute with Maisy that had spilled into the courts. (See separate story)

A guard, who was on duty at Moke Garden estate, told police that the two gunmen arrived at about 12.30pm and held him hostage for a while as they demanded that he leads them to Chesang’s house.

They knocked at his door and when he peeped through the curtains, one of the gunmen opened fire and shot him through the window.

Police said Chesang’s neighbours alerted them about the shooting, adding that the attackers did not steal anything. They left the guard tied up in one corner of the compound.

The officers who responded to the distress call jumped over a wall into the compound after finding the main gate locked. After entering through the front door, they saw Chesang’s body lying in a pool of blood in the living room.

Chesang is said to have been alone in the house when he was killed.

The lawyer’s killing was condemned by South Eastern Kenya Law Society of Kenya chairperson Justus Mutia, who called for a speedy probe into the shooting.

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Robert ChesangPauline Omungala Maisy ChesangAthi River Police StationGeorge KisakaGovernmentJustus MutiaPolice officers