NAIROBI: Police are investigating the disappearance of a lawyer, his client and a taxi driver after the hearing of a court case.
Willie Kimani and Eric Mwenda have been missing since June 23 when they attended a case at the Mavoko Law Courts, in which Mwenda has been charged with possession of marijuana and carrying excess passengers.
Also missing is their taxi driver, John Muiruri, who picked them up from the court premises last Thursday shortly after 1 pm. Mwenda had lodged a complaint with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), accusing an Administration Police officer of attempted murder and framing charges against him. It is alleged the officer shot Mwenda, a boda boda operator in Athi River, injuring him in the leg. Mwenda was charged in court after the shooting incident.
LODGED A COMPLAINT
Kimani works as a lawyer at the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental organisation specialising in injustices perpetrated by police officers and other authorities. They were going to the offices of IJM along Mogotio Road in Westlands when they are believed to have been hijacked near Mlolongo area on the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway.
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According to the police, the lawyer had accompanied Mwenda to court for the hearing of the case against him. He claims the charges were brought against him after the police officer shot him in a disagreement over personal issues.
He had also been charged before a Mavoko court with carrying excess passengers.
The families of the three missing persons have reported to the police, saying they are yet to see their kin since Thursday. Head of Flying Squad Said Kiprotich said they had taken over investigations.
“We do not know where they are. We are still pursuing the matter with hopes to find them safe and alive,” he said.
According to reports, Mwenda had lodged a complaint with the IPOA, which took over the matter after he complained the officer and his colleagues were intimidating and demanding that he withdraws the case he had lodged with the authority. He also made a report with IJM.
Kimani worked at IPOA as a legal officer until March 2015 when he moved to IJM. Both IPOA and IJM were working on the matter.
Mwenda complained the officer had a personal grudge over business and social issues in Athi River, which allegedly led the officer to shoot him and fabricate evidence against him.
It was then that IJM seconded Kimani to the case and continued to investigate the incident and the officer.
Police say the taxi the two were using from the court was found abandoned in Kamirithu village in Tigoni on Saturday — a day after the families reported the two as missing.
The saloon car was towed to Tigoni Police Station.
A signal from Kimani’s mobile phone was also traced to a nearby tea plantation but it is yet to be recovered so far, police say. It went off on the same day.
The taxi driver’s mobile phone was traced to the Busia border but went off on Sunday. It was not clear how it found its way there. And a signal from Mwenda’s mobile phone was traced to Kawangware area before it also went off.
Kimani’s colleagues, who were in a separate car on the day he disappeared reported back to their offices in Westlands after the court session.
Kiprotich said they are yet to establish if there is a link between the missing officials and the complaint that Mwenda had lodged with the authorities.