A heartbreaking confession was read at the High Court revealing horrific details of how police officers and an informer, hatched an evil scheme and killed International Justice Mission lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a driver on June 23, 2016.
The confession is contained in a 21-page handwritten statement and was given by the informer -Peter Ngugi – who is also the fifth accused in the murder case.
In the confession, Ngugi details how he, police officers Fredrick Leliman and Leonard Mwangi, another officer only identified as Kamenju – who is still on the run -and an unidentified woman followed and abducted Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri as they left Mavoko Law Court on that fateful day.
Following their abduction, Ngugi states in his confession that Willie, Josephat and Joseph were taken to Syokimau Administration Police Camp where they were kept for nearly six hours.
Late that evening, Ngugi confessed that the three were handcuffed and bundled into a boot of a car belonging to Leliman and taken to an open field in Mlolongo area where they were killed, one after another.
The horrifying details of how the murders were planned and executed were made public before Lady Justice Jessie Lessit on Monday, October 7, 2019, by Chief Inspector Geoffrey Kinyua.
“The first victim (Josephat Mwenda) who was the main target was killed using a polythene bag and a rope. His body was stashed in a sack and put in a boot. At around 11 pm, the second victim (Willie Kimani) was taken to a different corner and killed in the same style. After he died, he was put in two sacks because he was tall and couldn’t fit in one sack. His body was then taken to the boot.
The third one (Joseph Muiruri) was strangled to death using a rope and polythene bag,” reads an excerpt from the confession statement.
Ngugi, a former boda-boda rider, is charged alongside police officers Leliman, Mwangi, Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku.
Ngugi said that his role at the killing field was “to remove the victims from the boot and hand them over to the officers who would then kill them.”
In his confession, Ngugi further reveals that he was recruited as a police informer in 2011 by former Kabete OCS Stephen Lelei who had been transferred to Mlolongo police station.
According to Ngugi, Lelei called him in April 2016, to notify him that he had been transferred from Busia and was now in Mlolongo and asked him to go and see him. He did, and that’s when he met Leliman, the first accused.
Leliman told him that he needed his help in an issue where a man he had shot wanted him to be sacked. Leliman informed him that the man, a boda boda rider was being helped by Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and there was a case in court, and they wanted to deal with the situation.
Ngugi says on June 22, 2016, he met Leliman at the police canteen and the officer told him that the plan to kill the boda boda rider was still on. His job was to follow the target and report back to Leliman on his movements the following day at the court.
The following day, on June 23, Ngugi says he left his house and headed to Mlolongo. On the way, he met Leliman who was with a lady who was to identify the wanted boda boda man to him because he did not know him. Leliman dropped them at Mlolongo stage and gave them Sh2,000 to share.
“In court, the lady showed me the target and I was able to identify him. She told me, Kamtu yako ndio hio” and the lady left later. I don’t remember her and I have never met her,” the confession reads.
Ngugi further confessed that the case took about two hours to be called. Ngugi says he followed the boda boda rider and when the case ended, he came out but with another man.
At that point he called Leliman who told him that the other man was also a thief.
The two entered a vehicle and Ngugi then went to Leliman’s car and found a sergeant Mwangi. He states that he had also been informed that Mwangi was part of the plan too.
“The car that was with the wanted men passed us and Leliman followed them. We caught up with them at a railway crossing line and Mwangi removed his walkie talkie and told them they were under arrest.”
“They were told to get out of the car and enter Sergeant Leliman’s car. They did not argue. They complied with the orders. I took possession of their car and drove it off. Sergeant Leliman then overtook me and went straight to the AP post. As agreed earlier, my assignment was to dispose of their vehicle. The original plan was to drive to Meru and leave the car there,” reads another excerpt.
Ngugi, however, says he opted to abandon the vehicle in Limuru.
“I was told on the phone he had interviewed the driver who told him that his taxi was operating around Zimmerman, therefore, driving to that route would be risky and the car did not have enough fuel and that would be risky too,” Ngugi adds.
He further states that five phones belonging to Willie, Josephat and Joseph were left in the car and he had instructions to dispose of them.
“I switched off four of the five phones, but I was unable to switch off one of them. After parking the car at Kwa Mbira, I threw away the phones. While still there, I called Leliman and told him I was on my way to Syokimau.”
“He told me that they were still at Mlolongo and that I should find them there. I arrived in Mlolongo at 5 pm and found Sergeant Mwangi and Leliman and other officers at Connection Bar. They told me that the victims are safe at Syokimau AP Post,” he adds.
While at Connection Bar, Ngugi said Leliman was called and told that one of the victim’s had managed to call his wife and informed her that he had been locked in at Syokimau and had no idea where the car was.
“We were all shocked to hear that. We went to the AP post where Mwangi handcuffed them from behind. They were all put in the boot of a car before we drove along Nairobi–Mombasa Road to a bush.”
“After a few minutes later, Kamenju (a police officer) joined us while still in the bush. We started to disagree on how to kill the victims. Mwangi and I were of the view that we had been exposed and the best thing was to release the three. However, Leliman and Kamenju insisted that the three must be killed,’ he confessed.
At the site, the fifth accused confessed that they discussed for more than three hours on how to kill Willie, Josephat and Joseph.
“We discussed for more than three hours at around 9 pm, a police officer came and told us that members of the public were wondering why and what we were doing there. Kamenju told them that we are police officers and we are on duty.”
It’s after that, at about 11 pm they removed Josephat and killed him, then Willie and then Muiruri. Each one of them, Ngugi confessed was strangled by a rope and paper bag. Their bodies were put on sacks and thrown back to the boot of two cars- Leliman’s and Kamenju.
The four of them– he, Leliman, Mwangi and Kamenju took off using the Nairobi–Mombasa Road. Kamenju who claimed to have worked at Ol Donyo Sabuk was to lead then to where they would dispose of the bodies.
“When we reached the scene, we threw the bodies into the river. We drove back using the same route and at 4 am we reached Mlolongo and ate our supper. I was left in the bar where I slept on the seat. I had a lot of beer that forced me into a blackout.”
Their bodies were discovered and retrieved at Athi River in Ol Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County -stashed in gunny bags- a week later following a tedious search.
After confessing, Ngugi similarly took police officers to the scene of the crime and explained in detail how it all happened. His explanation was recorded by investigators.