Investigation into NHIF employee Lilian Waithera shooting hits dead-end, detectives rule it accidental


Nothing conclusive is yet to come out of the investigation into the mysterious shooting of National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) employee Mary Lilian Waithera.

Though detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Homicide Unit are at the tail end of completing their investigations, they seem to have hit a dead end and are considering recommending a public inquest to help unravel Waithera’s death.

For the last three months, the homicide detectives have been undertaking investigations but are yet to find any clues on the identity of the faceless shooter and the real motive behind Waithera’s murder.

The inquiry will help shed light on suspicion that the deceased was targeted due to an internal graft investigation at NHIF following claims some millions had been embezzled though the sleuths have ruled out the possibility.

Some of Waithera’s colleagues, who have since gone mute, were heard discussing in hushed tones when they visited the scene the day after her killing that the mother of two sons could have been eliminated because of the information she had regarding corruption at her workplace.

National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Staff conduct prayers where their colleague, Lilian Waithera was shot and killed on 15th February 2023 at Kaunda Street in Nairobi, [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The 47-year-old collapsed and died on February 13 along Kaunda Street within Nairobi’s Central Business District. She was walking home in the company of a colleague, Damaris Achieng.

Achieng said Waithera held on to her left side of her chest before she fell to the ground. She was bleeding when the ambulance arrived to rush her to hospital where she was confirmed dead.

 A postmortem examination revealed that a bullet head had been found lodged in her lungs. The autopsy further showed the bullet went through her left collarbone.

The killer bullet is said to have been fired from an elevated angle.

Initially, the killing was under investigation by DCI officers based at Central Police Station but the filed was later handed over to the homicide investigators following instruction by DCI boss Mohammed Amin.

At the time the file was being moved to the Homicide Unit, the investigators at Central Police Station faced accusations that they were dragging their feet on the probe.

No leads

Sources familiar with the matter have told The Nairobian that investigators have analysed all possible reasons as to why Waithera could have been shot but are yet to find a concrete lead or answer.

“We have ruled out the possibility that she (Waithera) was a whistle-blower in any matter. Her death has nothing to do with her work,” said a detective.

Another theory that the police have looked into is the possibility that she could have been murdered over a deal or relationship gone sour.

“She was simply a humble person who did not engage in deals. Her daily routine was from her house to the office and back,” said the officer.

Having eliminated these two main possible theories for the shooting, detectives are now convinced that the shooting was accidental but cannot trace the person who released or fired the shot.

“There was no threat to her life. We can confirm that the shooting was most likely accidental,” said another source.

Numerous visits by ballistic examiners who managed to trace the direction from where the bullet could have been fired from have not managed to crack the matter. A search by detectives on buildings close to where Waithera was shot has also failed to yield results.

The homicide investigators have in line with their probe held numerous meetings with the family of the deceased and explained to relatives why investigations have hit a brick wall.

On February 21, a businessman who is a licensed firearm holder was arrested by the police at his home in Kenol, Murang’a County in connection with the shooting.

The trader was however released by the police after a ballistic examination of his firearm revealed that his gun had not fired the killer bullet.