The primary school headteacher whose mutilated body was found in a house in Nyamira more than a week ago had just obtained a loan of Sh2.8 million before his death, detectives and his colleagues have said.
Sources confirmed that 47-year-old Ezekiel Nkere Gitangwa had obtained the credit facility from a financial institution popular with teachers.
The victim, who was the headteacher of Getengereirie Primary School, was killed on December 30 last year. His body was discovered in a house said to belong to a nurse who is one of the suspects, and who has since disappeared.
Two teachers who signed Gitangwa’s loan forms as guarantors said they did not know what he planned to do with the money. They also said they did not know the amount the victim had applied for until Monday when they received confirmation from the victim’s family.
“It was three weeks ago when we signed for him the loan forms as guarantors. I did not get to read the forms to know the actual reason for the loan. It had only been indicated as a development loan,” one of the teachers said.
It has also emerged that Gitangwa was indebted to the nurse said to be the main suspect in his brutal killing.
Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said the slain teacher owed the suspect Sh3 million. The debt, according to the sleuths, had caused a major rift between the teacher and the nurse.
The Standard has established that the nurse had on several occasions turned to friends to try and arbitrate the financial matter. But by the time of his death, the teacher had not settled the debt or even committed to do so, sources said.
“I had a session with the teacher where we discussed the issue of the debt he owed. He said he spent the money but assured me that he would repay at a later date. His death has surprised me, I didn’t see it coming,” a source who said he was one of the arbitrators in the dispute said.
The circumstances under which the nurse reportedly gave the money to the teacher were not immediately clear. Reports indicate that the nurse wanted to use the money to buy land.
Nyamira Criminal Investigations Officer Peter Kiboro said a source had told investigators that Gitangwa’s family was not aware of the Sh3 million he owed the suspect.
While the family confirmed that Gitangwa had built two houses in his rural home in North Mugirango, they said nobody knew where he got the funds.
“It is true that there are two houses the deceased recently built in his compound in his rural home. What we are not sure about is the source of the money he used to do the project. We do not know if it is the money in question that was used to finance the project,” Mr Kiboro said yesterday.
A source said that the nurse had received millions of shillings as benefits following the death of her husband, a Kenya Defence Forces officer, a few years ago.
It is believed that the nurse loaned some of the money to Gitangwa to buy her a piece of land. But she later learned that he had used the money to build houses in his rural home. It was also reported that the teacher used what was left of the money to buy himself a car.
Sources said Gitangwa and the nurse were often seen hanging out together in local joints. They would go out drinking, especially during weekends.
“There is a particular joint where he would always go to watch football. Most of the time, he would be in the company of the nurse. He never took alcohol but he would sip his soda while he entertained the woman with alcoholic drinks,” said a teacher friend of Gitangwa who sought anonymity.
With the teacher’s killers yet to be arrested, North Mugirango MP Josh Nyamoko is now accusing senior security officers of protecting the suspects. “We saw how swiftly police acted in the case of Baby Sagini and the recent murder case of Chiloba. Suspects have been arrested and charged. Why is so difficult to arrest the nurse?” Mr Nyamoko said.
The MP said he would seek the intervention of the Interior ministry in the next one week. “I am aware of some dealings by some senior security agents connected to the family of the suspect. They are keen to defeat justice. But we shall not rest until the culprits are arrested and charged.”