A key suspect in the attempted murder of a former Garissa finance executive was found dead in a police cell yesterday.
David Wanjiru Mwai alias Mwas allegedly committed suicide at Parklands Police Station, where he was being held as the investigation into the August 19 shooting went on.
He was said to be the one who pulled the trigger, critically injuring Idriss Mukhtar outside a mosque.
He and six others had been remanded in separate cells as police went on with their investigations.
A magistrate had visited Mwai and his accomplices in the cells before she allowed police to detain them for 14 days.
According to police, Mwai used clothes to hang himself. A police officer who was at the report desk said he heard noises from the cells and assumed the suspects were singing.
A few minutes later, he said, the other suspects banged on the cell door, demanding his attention. He went to the cell and found Mwai hanging from the window with clothes tied around his neck.
The officer said he raised the alarm and other officers rushed Mwai to the nearby MP Shah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Some of the officers at the station were, however, not convinced that the prime suspect had committed suicide.
“He might as well have been killed. We will see more drama in this case,” one of them said.
Mwai and his accomplices had confessed to the attempted murder and were said to have named the key players in the assassination plot and the amount he was paid to do the job.
Yesterday, police said they had recovered Sh400,000 from suspects in Mukhtar’s shooting.
The money was part of Sh2.4 million allegedly paid by the person who was plotting to kill Mukhtar and his lawyer, Charles Kanjama.
Investigators found the money in the boot of a car owned by a suspect police believed was at the centre of the saga.
Mukhtar was shot in the head and is still admitted to hospital after the August 19 attack in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.
According to investigators, the man who pulled the trigger and a woman who was his link to other suspects in custody visited Mr Kanjama’s office twice as part of their reconnaissance mission ahead of the planned attack.
The two posed as clients asking to be represented in a case of police abuse. They reportedly paid Sh3,000 as consultation fee before they met Kanjama in his office to narrate their ‘ordeal’.
The meeting, according to confessions by the suspects, was meant to introduce the gunman to the lawyer ahead of the planned hit.
“They met twice and the lawyer even gave them his business card and agreed they would return. He did not know the day they would return was meant to be to kill or harm him,” said an investigator in the case.
The man who was alleged to have pulled the trigger on Mukhtar was said to have told police he and an accomplice visited a restaurant near a mosque in Kileleshwa on August 18, a day before the shooting, as part of their recce mission. CCTV cameras captured the visit. They sat at the restaurant for almost 20 minutes.
Mwai reportedly told police he had been given a gun and 15 bullets and ordered to use half of them on Mukhtar. However, the gun jammed after firing once.
The weapon and 14 bullets have also been recovered.
The receipts Mwai and the woman got when they visited Kanjama’s office and a car are part of exhibits police are holding ahead of the suspects’ possible prosecution.
The suspects have further claimed there was an alternative plan to inject Mukhtar with a chemical if the shooting mission failed. Mukhtar was said to have been followed to a mosque in the city twice as the would-be assassins plotted the mission.
Some of the suspects in custody have claimed that some of those being questioned were in touch with them. The gunman said he was given Sh1.8 million and Sh200,000 to buy the weapon for the mission.
A relative of Garissa Governor Ali Korane was arrested on Wednesday in the city centre.
Korane was released on Tuesday night after being questioned the entire day. The governor and Mukhtar are married to first cousins.
The governor was one of eight people who were questioned in connection with the shooting.
The rest, including a police officer believed to be Korane’s bodyguard, a woman said to have hired the car that was used to trail Mukhtar, and a boda boda rider are still in custody.
Kanjama recorded a statement with the police on Tuesday.
He later identified the man and woman who visited his office twice.
“The lawyer was shocked to learn what the visit to his office was about. He is shocked up to now,” said another officer.