Fresh trial for ‘hired killer’ handed eight years in jail

A man who was jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to a murder charge will be tried afresh.

Ngira Charo has recanted a statement he gave when entering a plea bargain with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Charo was charged with killing businessman Issack Sokorow on March 8, 2018 in Malindi.

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He told court his co-accused, Mandi Jilani, a driver with the County Government of Kilifi and a Makonde Ruwa, hired him to kill Sokorow. Jilani and Ruwa denied the charges and their trial went on.

In the plea deal, Charo was to admit guilt in return for a lesser sentence. He was to testify against his co-accused as a prosecution witness. He was convicted but the deal collapsed when he was brought to testify as a State witness.

Last June, he recanted his statement during cross-examination by lawyers Jared Magolo and Daniel Wamotsa, representing Jilani and Ruwa respectively. Charo told Justice Eric Ogola that detectives forced him to record a false statement implicating his co-accused in the murder of Sokorow.

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He further alleged that he was scared of the officers from Malindi who allegedly forced him to lie. In the disputed statement, he confessed that Jilani hired him to kill the victim and narrated he how he strangled him.

Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alloyce Kemo applied for Charo to be declared a hostile witness. Ogola ordered an investigation into Charo’s claims and later set aside his conviction.

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On Monday, Justice Ogola ordered a fresh trial of Charo alongside his two alleged accomplices following a successful application by the DPP.

“In the course of proceedings, Kemo, learned counsel for the prosecution, observed that the evidence of the accused appeared to be contradictory to the terms contained in the plea bargain agreement,” said Justice Ogola.

The judge said the accused was sentenced on April 8, 2019 and on the same day gave evidence against his co-accused, which was not in line with the agreement between him and the DPP.

“I have carefully considered the application. Without going to the merits of the testimony of the accused, it is evident his testimony departs from the plea agreement filed in this court on January 17, 2019. The variance between the witness’ testimony with the plea bargain is not determination to be made  by the court at this stage.”

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