I aimed at him (Mwenda) and shot him …. I was standing at about 11 meters away,” Leliman.
Fredrick Leliman, the police officer who allegedly orchestrated the brutal killings of lawyer Willie Kimani and two others five years ago, has given details of how he shot Josephat Mwenda.
Leliman admitted that he shot Mwenda using his personal Cesca pistol on April 10, 2015.
The incident occurred a few months before their bodies were found floating at River Athi, Oldonyo Sabuk, a week after they went missing.
The third body of Joseph Muiruri _ a driver who chauffeured the two to Mavoko Law court on June 23, 2016, was also retrieved on July 1. They had all gone missing after hearing a case in which Leliman testified as a key witness,
” I aimed at him (Mwenda) and shot him at his wrist. I was standing at about 11 meters away,” Leliman told justice Jessie Lessit.
He further revealed to the court that he was a sharpshooter and that day, he was armed with two magazines and 30 bullets.
” If I wanted to kill him, I would have shot him many times. I only shot him once,” he said.
However, the prosecution produced doctors’ treatment notes that Indicated he shot Mwenda twice, at the upper arm and chest.
Leliman claimed Mwenda held a knife and was approaching a police officer identified as Jane Ngige, and that is why he shot him.
He said he was in the company of former Mlolongo OCS Moses Wambugu, now deceased, and other officers.
They had gone to patrol the scene after they received complaints from area residents. The complainers said a group of men, were playing cards and stealing from members of the public.
When they arrived at the scene, he said, they split into three groups. The people, he claimed, all scattered, leaving a blue motorbike behind.
“One of them came back to take the motorbike and PC Jane Ngige rushed to get it, but the man removed a knife. I heard Ngige screaming for help and it’s at that point that I shot him after he refused to surrender,”
Questioned why he did not shoot in the air to spare Mwenda, Leliman said he did not have time.
He was put to task to explain why he was using a personal gun while on official duty. The prosecution also wanted to know why he did not record the same in the armoury register. Leliman said, he wrote it in his notebook though he did not produce it in court.
The prosecution also asked the officer to explain why he did not take Mwenda to Machakos District Hospital. He took instead took him to Shallom Hospital, a private facility. A doctor who attended to Mwenda in Athi River had referred him to Machakos.
He said, ” It’s a hospital, I even paid for his hospital bill of sh 1,000″.
But asked for the hospital receipt to prove the payment, the officer said he gave them to Mwenda that day.
Four days after the shooting, Mwenda was taken to court and charged with having bhang and a knife and resisting arrest.
“As a public officer, you ought to have claimed your money. Do you have anything to show that you claimed back your money,” asked lawyer Fred Ojiambo
In his testimony that took four days to tell, witnesses said the former Mlolongo Spiv officer and Mwenda, a Bodaboda rider collided multiple times after that.
Eight months after the shooting incident, Mwenda was re-arrested by OCS Wambugu and Leliman. He was charged with six counts of traffic-related offences.
Questioned about his motive, Leliman said, “It’s a lie, I did not arrest him the second time, it was OCS Wambugu who arrested him.”
However, the prosecution showed him a statement he made in the case filed against Mwenda. In that case, Leliman told the court that he and the deceased OCS enforced the arrest.
“Confirm that you arrested Mwenda for the second time on December 13, 2015, and charged him with six counts of traffic offences,” Prosecutor Nicholas Mutuku asked.
” That is a lie,” Leliman said.
Following his re-arrest, Mwenda filed a complaint at the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
“Confirm if you were summoned to IPOA over your misconduct. You knew there was a complaint before the IG by the time you were testifying in the case of Mwenda,”
“Did you know International Justice Mission had plans to place Mwenda under the witness protection program, because his life was in danger?” Mutuku asked.
In February, while leaving court, Mwenda was arrested for the third time and ordered to go to DCI offices in Athi River. strangely, he was informed that he was wanted in Meru to answer to another criminal charge.
When his lawyer inquired for particulars of that crime, Mwenda was released.
The prosecutor also said Mwenda kept going to the station searching for a P3 form. It was issued to him months later after IPOA filed a complaint before the OCS office. In the P3 report, police indicated that a stray bullet hit him.
During cross-examination, the prosecutor said Leliman held a grudge against Mwenda and planned his murder because he feared losing his job.
Lelimans testimony follows that of his co-accused, Leonard Mwangi, Stephen Cheburet, and Silvia Wanjiku who also denied their alleged involvement.
The three testified in September. Leliman will also call his wife and sister-in-law to support his claims that he was nowhere near the murder scene on June 23rd.
Peter Ngugi, a police informant who confessed to the brutal killings will be put on his defence in December.
The hearing will resume on December 14.