DPP against release of officers in Kianjokoma brothers' killing

Six police officers suspected of killing two brothers in Embu at the Milimani Law Courts. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Director of Public Prosecutions has opposed the release of six police officers charged with the murder of two brothers in Embu County.

The DPP claims the six officers will be a threat to victims if released on bail and interfere with witnesses who implicated them in the murder of Benson Njiru Ndwiga and Emmanuel Mutura Ndwiga.

They relied on an affidavit of investigating officer Ibrahim Shunu, who swore that the officers attempted to interfere with witnesses and conceal evidence. “... the prosecution has a strong and irrefutable evidence that points to their guilt. They are likely to abscond court..., given the strong evidence against them, which may lead to a death sentence,” swore Mr Shunu.

The DPP has written to the Witness Protection Agency to issue protection for five witnesses whose lives might be at risk for giving evidence against Benson Mputhia, Consolata Njeri, Martin Wanyama, Nicholas Sang, Lillian Cherono and James Mwaniki.

Prosecution said the six were still officers since they had not been interdicted, and might still access their guns and use them to harm the witnesses.

The investigator said: “The family of the deceased persons, who are victims of their murder, are greatly impacted by the loss of their two young promising sons in such a violent manner. Their interest should be protected since release of the accused would be prejudicial to them."

The officers were charged with the August 1 murders at Kianjokoma village in Embu North Sub-County.

They filed an application to be released on bail through lawyer Danstan Omari, arguing there was no compelling reason to continue holding them.

According to Omari, none of the victims and witnesses has complained of being threatened by any of the accused officers to warrant their continued detention. He said the officers were willing to abide by any condition the court would give to secure their release.

He added that the accused persons had cooperated with investigators and voluntarily turned up when the officers required them to assist in unraveling the death of two brothers, remaining in custody since September 17.

The officers have maintained their innocence, arguing that it was the two brothers' jumping off a moving police vehicle that led to their killing.

They claimed they were charged due to public pressure yet no evidence linked them to the murder. They said the DPP should have recommended a public inquest to establish the cause of death.

Hearing for the application failed to proceed yesterday after the Law Society of Kenya, International Justice Mission and Independent Policing Oversight Authority asked for time to file submissions on behalf of the victims to oppose the bail application. 

Justice Daniel Ogembo granted them a day to file the submissions. The hearing is set for today.