Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti told the Star yesterday that they had enough clues linking the individuals to the murder and subsequent cover-up.
“We have identified the persons of interest and that will be the focus of our investigation going forward,” he told the Star moments after he addressed a lengthy press conference where he played CCTV footage showing Kenei’s last moments.
He did not, however, name the individuals but said they were linked to the fake arms scandal.
“One of them was in communication with the deceased on the day former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa visited Harambee House Annex,” he said.
Kinoti for the first time revealed that Kenei was eliminated to “safeguard, protect, insulate and save powerful figures,” whom he termed as the “source of the fake military arms deal.”
Kenei’s murder, the DCI concluded, was necessary to protect the undisclosed people from the consequences of using the country’s military procurement process in the most deceitful and fraudulent manner.
“The involvement of the deceased in the complex activities clearly shows he didn’t have a chance. It is evident that throughout he was receiving instructions or directions from a certain source. It is manifest that the stakes must be so high and adverse that it could be dangerous to expose the source,” Kinoti explained.
In a rare move, the DCI boss laid bare the circumstances under which Kenei died, concluding that the DP’s guard was murdered in connection with the Sh39 billion fake military arms tender involving Echesa.
“Our colleague’s murder is 100 per cent linked to the ongoing investigations. It was not suicide as initially perceived but pure murder, well executed and stage-managed,” declared Kinoti at a press conference in his office.
Discounting Ruto’s initial claim that Echesa was at his Harambee Annex office for a mere 23 minutes, Kinoti produced CCTV footage showing that the ex-CS and his accomplices spent at least 1:22:59 at the second most powerful office.
The DP had said Echesa was in his office for just 23 minutes and asked that the investigators probe if Echesa and his team could have visited other offices including the Department of Defence.
Further supporting his conclusion of the DP’s office involvement in the murder, Kinoti revealed that his detectives were initially blocked from accessing complete CCT footage captured on February 13, the day Echesa visited the office with two foreign investors.
Echesa was arrested by DCI detectives moments after driving out of the DP’s office on the same day over claims of conning two investors of Sh11.5 million in the guise of brokering a lucrative tender to supply military weapons.
“We were asked to record from the monitors whatever we wanted using our mobile phones. The in-charge refused to grant us access to the servers to obtain data by ourselves,” Kinoti said, adding that they were given the edited version of the 23 minutes.
“It was after protests that we were allowed to download the CCT data from the servers for analysis.”
The DCI boss said Kenei had called a colleague on February 18 asking to be guided on how to record a statement, “implying a willingness to record the same as directed by his superior.”
According to the investigators, Kenei had nothing to fear and was ready to spill the beans about what he knew regarding the fake arms deal that threw the DP’s office into the limelight.
The DCI boss said it was perplexing then that on February 19, the day Kenei and his colleagues were expected at the DCI headquarters to record a statement, the DP’s office dispatched a letter declaring the officer as missing.
According to Kinoti, Kenei being a police officer and who had gone ‘missing’, a signal ought to have been circulated and a report made by his superiors to a police station.
“How did they declare our colleague as missing without an occurrence book number (OB) or a signal to the police?” Kinoti posed.
“Since he failed to appear at his place of work on February 19 as was expected, his superiors did not endeavour to find out where he was nor did they visit his residence to inquire as to his whereabouts”.
Of great interest to the DCI officers, just a day earlier – February 18 – the DP’s office through the chief of staff Ken Osinde had written a letter to the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai claiming a security breach at Harambee Annex.
Osinde had outlined 10 areas the DP wanted the IGP to investigate in connection to the visit by Echesa and the two foreigners on February 13 moments before the ex-Sports minister was arrested.
The DCI picks glaring inconsistencies between the February 18 and 19 letters written by the DP’s office even as forensic evidence ruled out the suicide theory.
According to the evidence gathered by the homicide detectives, Kenei’s house revealed a scenario of a gruesome murder stage-managed to look like a suicide.
First, Kinoti questions why the initial letter fell short of asking that those found culpable of the breach be prosecuted.
Second, the DCI argues that the timing of the second letter by Osinde, which called for officers involved to be held accountable, was suspect given that it was on the material day Kenei was expected to record a statement.
“A quick glance at the two letterheads shows they are different……could the source have known that the person involved was no more? It is clear from the footage analysed that the only official who may have breached the security protocol was the deceased,” Kinoti said.
In trying to unravel the motive behind Kenei’s murder, Kinoti said the deceased officer collaborated with Echesa and his accomplices when they arrived at the DP’s Harambe Annex.
Echesa, Daniel Otieno alias General Juma and two other people are captured by CCTV being ushered by Kenei to the VIP reception and then escorted to the DP’s second floor office via the VIP lift.
“It leaves no doubt of the involvement of the deceased person in the said cartel for he is seen escorting the alleged general towards the VIP lift while the general is carrying an envelope that was confiscated by the DCI during the arrest,” the DCI said.
“All this demonstrates the level of involvement of the deceased officer in this well-ocharstated fraud that lasted between 8:50 am to 10:12:55 hours on February 13,” he added.
“The deceased is seen calling someone and handing over the mobile phone to the purported general as they leave the lift, at the second floor which houses the Deputy President.”
Yesterday Kinoti affirmed that Kenei was not acting on his own while ushering Echesa’s team to the highly-guarded office, indicating that there were instructions from a higher authority to let them in.
“This is a clear indication he was involved and was taking instructions from someone,” Kinoti said as he played the CCTV footage to the media.
According to the clips from DCI, Kenei who wore a black suit, makes frantic movements up and down the DP’s office appearing to coordinate the entry and exit of Echesa and his group.
Throughout the 1:22:59 minute clip, Juma – the fake general charged alongside Echesa – uses the back entrance and exit from the DP’s office which leads to the Kenyatta University parking.
Juma and his team arrive in a Subaru after a signal from one of the security officers in uniform to drive into the KU parking.
Juma accesses Harambee House Annex from the rear entrance straight to the VIP reception accompanied by Kenei before they take the VIP lift to the second floor.
Meanwhile, Echesa driving a sleek black Range Rover accesses the DP’s office via Harambee Avenue accompanied by the two investors pursuing the multi-billion firms deal.
A uniformed officer salutes Echesa before letting him into the VIP parking overlooking the President’s Harambee House office.
Moments later, Echesa walks straight to the VIP reception, greets an armed guard and a receptionist, before walking to the VIP lift to make his way up to the second floor where Juma and Kenei are waiting in the boardroom.
At exactly 10am, Echesa walks out with his two guests, fumbles with his coat pocket for some cash and after confirming enters the lift and parts with some money with the receptionist before smiling off.
Echesa is seen freely engaging with staff at the office, perhaps capturing his glorious moments of power when he used to fly a ministerial flag.
Kenei was found dead in his house at Villa France estate in Imara Daima on February 20 with a bullet wound in his head with his Jericho pistol next to his body.
Homicide detectives established that Kenei’s body was found in pajamas, with no shoes, a sign he was ready to sleep in his neatly made bed that had no sign of disturbance.
“This psychology depicts somebody who was ready to sleep. It is inconsistent with a person who came in to commit suicide,” Kinoti added.
Scene of crime experts established that the position of the body and the trajectory of the bullet were inconsistent with a suicide, confirming the officer was executed by “determined blood professional killers.”