Ruthless former Ruaraka police station boss Nahashon Mutua went to great lengths, even offering an Sh1 million bribe to investigators, to cover up the bludgeoning murder of innocent miraa trader Martin Koome.
The killing was in 2013 but justice was finally done five years later on December 13 last year. Sentencing is scheduled for January 15, next Tuesday.
The trial record showed that the convicted murderer had assigned a Chief Inspector Chea to investigate Koome’s death in a police cell, however, he used every trick to sabotage the case, even leading Chea to implicate a cellmate-scapegoat.
It was a typical case of extra-judicial police killing and impunity. The conviction was rare.
Koome had quarrelled with his wife, then neighbours called the police who took Koome away. At the station, he resisted detention, infuriating Mutua.
“After committing the murder, the accused took steps to cover up by intimidation, issuance of threats and framing PW5,” court papers say.
Witness PW5 was Kevin Odhiambo, a robbery with violence suspect who was in the cell with Koome on the night of December 19, 2013, when the attack took place.
Mutua eventually succeeded and had Odhiambo charged. But shortly afterwards, the rights lobby group, International Justice Mission, started an independent probe that would prove Odhiambo had been framed.
The case fell apart when witness Koko Nzuki, who was among the Independent Policing Oversight Authority investigators, admitted Mutua offered him Sh1 million to stop pursuing the truth.
“The accused together with his colleagues PC Nyaga and PC Ngunu tried to persuade him to implicate another person for the murder of Koome,” court papers say.
Ipoa lead investigator Evans Okeyo said their independent probe had found Mutua responsible for Koome’s death.
The Director of Public Prosecutions would later discharge Odhiambo and instead charge OCS Mutua with murder.
On December 7, 2017, judge Stella Mutuku found that Mutua had a case to answer and must stand trial.
On the following day, Odhiambo was freed.
In his trial, the former OCS said that on being informed of Koome’s death, he instructed the police inspector, only identified as Chea, to investigate.
He claimed Koome died in a brutal night fight in a cell with fellow suspects.
Explaining Koome’s drenched trousers and shirt, Mutua’s defence lawyers told the court fellow detainees overpowered Koome and splashed water and urine on him after he collapsed under their blows. He later died at Kenyatta National Hospital.
Mutua denied beating Koome, saying he only helped get him into the cell because he had ordered him to be detained and he had resisted. The exact reason for detention was not clear.
Evidence would later reveal there was a barrel of water close to the cell. Witnesses told the court Koome was tortured. His head was repeatedly pushed under water so that he passed out. His head would then be lifted up by Mutua and other officers. Mutua also smashed his head repeatedly with a metal pipe.
Mutua argued that allegations of his involvement in Koome’s murder were “speculations, outright lies and suspicion”.
Mutua called 10 defence witnesses, including juniors who were on duty the night of the beating.
After hearing 18 prosecution witnesses, the judge ruled on November 29 last year that the prosecution had proved its case.
“It was in the interest of the accused to flout the law so as to cover up what he did,” the judge ruled.
She dismissed Mutua’s defence that the deceased was assaulted by cellmates.
“The prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and I believe the death was caused by the injuries he sustained at Ruaraka station,” she said.
The probation officer was not ready with a report on December 20 last year but will be presented before sentencing.