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Car at centre of killing of journalist was not stolen


A vehicle Pakistani journalist Arshad Shariff was riding in the Magadi-Kiserian road before he was fatally shot at on October 23, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Police in Nairobi have now revealed that a car reportedly taken from a parking lot in Pangani estate and which is at the centre of Pakistani journalist Arshad Shariff's killing was not stolen as earlier reported.

Initial reports in Shariff's shooting on Sunday night indicated that the car had been reported stolen at Pangani Police Station by one Douglas Wainaina.

He is said to have reported that the car was stolen from the parking with his son in it. Detectives then circulated the registration details of the car, a KDJ 700F.

It is still not clear what led to officers opening fire on another car, KDG 200M, dozens of kilometres away in Kajiado County, being driven by Shariff's brother. The journalist was on board the car and was shot dead.

Police have maintained it was a case of mistaken identity and that officers opened fire on the car's occupants after they defied an order to stop at a roadblock. So far, four General Service Unit (GSU) officers have recorded statements with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Kiserian over the matter.

Yesterday, police established that Wainaina's 26-year-old son, Duncan Wainaina Kamau, who was earlier believed to have been abducted and was inside the 'stolen' vehicle, drove the car from the parking without his father's authority.

Yesterday, the man and son appeared at a Makadara court where Duncan was charged with unlawfully using his father's vehicle.

After Duncan was charged, his father, a pilot based in Netherlands, filed an application before Makadara Senior Resident Magistrate Monica Kivuti seeking to forgive him.

According to court papers, at about 8.30pm on the day Shariff was killed, Wainaina had asked his son to park the vehicle off the street and wait for him as he went to buy some electric cables.

Reportedly, 10 minutes later, the pilot returned from shopping, only to find the car and his son missing. He tried calling Duncan several times but the calls went unanswered. He then took a bike to go around the place with the hope of locating him in vain.

That is when it hit him that his son might have been carjacked.

He reported the matter to Pangani Police Station 40 minutes later. This prompted the officer-in-charge of crime branch to alert officers from DCI Starehe who were on patrol to commence a search on the car.

Through their radar, Duncan's mobile phone was traced to Rongai, which later changed to Kiserian and Olepolos Hills.

When Duncan noticed that his father had called him 14 times, he called back to inform him that he had gone to an event at his mother's place in Kiserian and had the vehicle. He reportedly said his phone had been on silent mode.

The two agreed to meet at Total Petrol station in Keserian where Duncan was arrested and later booked at Pangani Police Station.

The white Mercedes Benz was towed to Pangani Police Station. Police said the vehicle will be used as an exhibit in court in connection with Sharif's death.

"Yes, the vehicle you are referring to is in our custody and will be used as an exhibit in court," said Starehe DCI boss Daniel Musangi.

Sharif died of a single gunshot wound to his head after GSU officers fired at the vehicle on suspicion that it was the car that had been reported stolen in Pangani.

It was only after the two GSU officers, who had erected a roadblock using stones had fired at the vehicle, that they established that it was not the car they had been tipped about, they said.

Sharif was in the passenger seat in a white Toyota V8 that was sprayed with 10 bullets.

Yesterday, Musangi told The Standard that their investigations had revealed that Wainaina's son was not abducted.

The car and the driver were traced to a petrol station in Kiserian on Monday, hours after the shooting to death of the journalist.

Police said the pilot's son switched off his phone after leaving Pangani, where the vehicle had been parked.

"He'd intermittently switch on his phone, with the signals indicating that he'd driven to Kajiado County," a Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer handling the matter said.

Police further said Duncan spoke to a close relative, telling them the family should not worry about a possible abduction, admitting he had driven away with his father's car.

Yesterday, Sharif's wife took to Twitter to mourn her husband.

"My husband is coming back home in a coffin. Authorities in Kenya are answerable to us," she tweeted.

She had earlier appealed for privacy as the family mourns the death of their loved one.

Musangi said investigations were at an advanced stage.

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