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ELECTION 2022

Court hears plot to exonerate Willie Kimani killers

NATIONAL
By Kamau Muthoni | Jan 21st 2022 | 3 min read

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has laid bare a plot by police officers and an informer to exonerate persons accused of killing lawyer Willie Kimani.

The DPP said the officers’ colleagues, some who were state witnesses and others who appeared for the defense, gave conflicting testimonies to get the accused off the hook. The DPP and the Law Society of Kenya want the court to find the accused guilty of the murder of Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.

Haji called 46 witnesses and produced 117 exhibits to convince Justice Jessie Lessit that Fredrick Leliman, Leonard Mwangi, Stephen Cheburet, and Sylvia Wanjiru are guilty of murder. They deny the charges. The DPP has detailed how Mwenda’s arrest over alleged gambling spiraled into a murder plot after Leliman shot him in the arm.

According to the DPP, police informer Leonard Ngugi disowned a confession on the murder and implicated other members of the Mlolongo undercover squad to take Leliman, Mwangi, Cheburet, and Wanjiru off the hook.

The DPP argues that the informer tried to divert the court from Leliman by naming a police driver, Juma Kamau, who was not there. Senior assistant DPP Nicholas Mutuku stated, “What did prosecution witness 26 (Juma Kamau), based in Mlolongo Police Station, have in the life of Josephat Mwenda?” Ngugi is said to have deliberately omitted Leliman and Mwangi’s names in his submissions.

Kimani together with his client Mwenda and their driver Muiruri were abducted and killed on June 23, 2016, shortly after leaving Mavoko law courts. According to the DPP, Leliman was involved in the murder and disposal of the bodies in Athi River near Ol Donyo Sabuk.

 “Your ladyship we urge you to find the prosecution has discharged its burden of proof in respect of each accused person. We pray your ladyship to find all the accused persons guilty of the offence of murder, record conviction under section 322 of the Criminal Procedure code and pass the appropriate sentence,” senior assistant DPP Nicholas Mutuku and Betty Mbula argue.

The DPP argues that the informer tried to divert the court from Leliman by naming a police driver, Juma Kamau, who was not there. At the same time, the DPP argues that Ngugi also tried to switch Mwangi with a Mwaniki.

Meanwhile, LSK which is representing Kimani’s family argue that although Ngugi confessed about the planning and execution of the three, a police officer who was a state witness applied to be heard in camera only for him to say that he was disturbed by unspecified persons in court.

LSK also argued that former Mlolongo police boss Stephen Lelei, Alfred Makau, Corporal Richard Nyakundi and Philemon Mwita gave contradicting accounts on the happenings of June 23 and 24, 2016.

“ Contradicting accounts by PW12, Philemon Mwita (PW18), CIP Stephen  Lelei (PW20), Alfred Muthiani Makau (PW21) and CPL Richard Nyakundi (PW22) being police officers from Mlolongo Weighbridge, Mlolongo  Police Station, and the AP Post reveal a strategy to stymie disclosure of adverse testimony. The conspiracy includes an attempt by the fifth accused to amend exhibit 90 from the dock and a bribe by the first accused,” LSK submitted.

It emerges that Mwenda may not have been eliminated if his plea that he be places under witness protection was acted upon. The submissions read that he had written a letter to the then Inspector General of Police saying his life was in danger but he never got a reply.

 “The parents and siblings of the 1st deceased respectfully submit that the  Prosecution established its case against the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th accused in the murder of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd deceased beyond any reasonable doubt,” LSK continued.

On the other hand, the accused persons called a total 18 witnesses.  They deny killing the trio.

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