A senior police officer bludgeoned a suspect to death in cells before he embarked on an elaborate scheme to cover up the murder, a Nairobi court has been told.
The former Ruaraka police station boss Nahashon Mutua’s scheme included faking a report that the prisoner had been assaulted by cellmates and charging one of them with murder before IPOA stepped in six months later to get to the bottom of the truth.
IPOA was formed by an Act of Parliament in November 2011 to check police excesses.
The trial court where Mutua is charged with the murder of Martin Koome Manyara on the night of December 19 2013 at Ruaraka police station heard that the officer accosted the suspect used a blunt object thereby breaking his eight ribs and occasioning him fatal head injuries.
Mutua is said to have accosted the late using a metal bar and also emersed his head in a drum of water.
The late Manyara had been arrested for attempting to strangle his baby after chasing away his wife on the fateful night in Baba Dogo, Nairobi.
IPOA lead investigator Evans Okeyo told justice Stella Mutuku that after the grisly incident the OCS accused one “of the prisoners of the murder of the deceased.”
“My investigations pointed to a different person…an innocent person had been charged,” Okeyo said.
He said he commenced investigations by visiting the scene at Ruaraka police station recorded statements from 21 witnesses among them police officers who worked under Mutua but who he found to be part of the elaborate cover-up .
Okeyo said he relied on two eye witnesses who told him that they had peeped through a ventilation where they saw Mutua attacking the late Koome using a metal rod.
‘The witnesses told me they saw him emersing the head of the deceased in water as he assaulted him,” Okeyo said.
He said after investigations, he arrived at the conclusion that Mutua murdered Koome.
“The accused and his officers set out on a mission to cover up their actions,”Okeyo told a hushed courtroom.
He said Mutua, to gain the favour of other witnesses, promised to set several suspects held at the station free and even offered to pay medical fees for one of them, ealier boooked for robbery, who he had also assaulted on a fateful night and indeed set him free without charge.
“He removed Victor Kioko from the cells, drove him to Neema Hospital and once he had been treated paid for him and set him free without charge,” Okeyo said.
The investigator said Mutua and his colleagues actions pointed to attempts of a cover up.
“They claimed there was a fight, but this was not recorded in the Occurance Book, neither was a senior officer contacted nor was the victim treated at a government hospital… they claimed the deceased was assaulted inside the cells but I discovered he was beaten up along the corridors,” the witness said.
Koome died while receiving treatment at KNH.
The court heard, to cover up their actions the officers implicated one Kelvin Odhiambo alias Nyundo with the murder and charged him but after IPOA exposed them the DPP withdrew the charge and instead brought in Mutua.
“The accused promised to release the other prisoners if they implicated Nyundo,” Okeyo said.
IPOA, Okeyo said, found that the wrong person had been charged and in the interest of justice nailed Mutua who is also charged separately with accusing Nyundo falsely.
Told in cross-exam that he was only fixing Mutua, the witness said, the case was not only investigated by the authority but also by the CID.
Testimony of criminals
A lawyer suggested that IPOA believed the testimony of criminals rather than police officers who had exculpated their own.
Okeyo said the late Koome was emersed in water (dunking- a torture method US soldiers perfected in Iraq) but in the cells, there was no water and indeed the only drum of water he saw was next to Mutua’s office.
The cover-up included the reconstruction of an OB to implicate the deceased as “violent.”
Prosecutor Alloys Kemo who also called a pathologist, urged the court to put Mutua on his defence.
A ruling on whether the police officer should be found with a case to answer will be made in November.