Kenya: Traffic Officer in Court Over Killing of Ainamoi MP
The Nation (Nairobi)
2 February 2008
Posted to the web 2 February 2008
A traffic police officer who allegedly shot dead Ainamoi member of Parliament David Kimutai Too and a female colleague was Friday arraigned before a Nakuru court.
Constable Andrew Mauche, 35, however did not appear before the High Court to plead to murder charges. He was whisked away by CID officers into senior resident magistrate Teresia Matheka’s chambers where a charge and cautionary statement was read out to him.
Armed police officers and CID detectives had a hectic time clearing the public and journalists who jammed the entrance to the chambers.
In an unprecedented move, journalists were locked out of the chambers as Ms Matheka read out the charge and cautionary statement in the high-profile murder case that has also attracted international attention.
Defence counsel Julius Ombati, George Mboga and Evans Juma Matunda said the suspect had informed the court that he was not aware that police intended to file murder charges against him.
Mr Matunda said the magistrate had ordered the suspect be remanded in police custody pending his arraignment in the High Court where he is expected to take the plea within 14 days.
“We are expecting that the murder trial will be conducted before the High Court sitting in Nakuru unless police decide to transfer him elsewhere. When the charge and cautionary statement was read out to our client he said that he was unaware that police intended to charge him with murder and had nothing further to say,” stated Mr Matunda.
Mr Mauche, who was wearing a white shirt and black trousers, looked composed and seemed unmoved by the crowd scrambling to catch a glimpse of him. The man has instantly become the centre of attention following the killing of the second ODM legislator in a week.
On Tuesday, an ODM newcomer to Parliament, Embakasi’s Melitus Were was shot dead outside his home in Woodley estate, Nairobi. Nobody has been charged with the killing.
Mr Mauche chatted animatedly with his colleagues outside the magistrate’s chambers as he waited for his turn to have the charge and cautionary statement taken.
The policeman, who was not handcuffed, smiled and perused newspapers carrying the MP’s murder in their front pages. At one point he waved at a team of journalists that crammed the corridors outside the chambers.
The suspect is alleged to have gunned down the 40-year-old legislator and his female companion, Constable Eunice Chepkwony, at West Indies estate in Eldoret Town.
Mr Mauche had been brought to the court moments before 8am where he declined to have his charge and cautionary statements read out to him before Ms Matheka arguing that he would only do so in the presence of his lawyers.
He was then escorted to the Nakuru Central police station under tight security where he was locked up briefly, before being whisked to the CID offices.
Rift Valley provincial Criminal Investigations Officer Mohammed Amin said detectives had not completed their investigations into circumstances surrounding the deaths.
At the provincial CID offices the suspect recorded his statement before Inspector James Sunkuli. He was then driven to the Nakuru law courts as a huge crowd of curious on-lookers milled in the corridors to catch a glimpse of the officer.
There have been conflicting reports over the circumstances surrounding the MP’s killing with police commissioner Hussein Ali saying that initial investigations had pointed to a “crime of passion”.
But ODM and the family of the slain officer have disputed this.
Mr Too’s death came barely two days after that of Mr Were, the MP for Embakasi in Nairobi. Mr Were was also a member of ODM.
Both the slain officer’s family and ODM insist that Ms Chepkwony was related to the MP and that the two had been killed as they viewed a parcel of land in Eldoret Town which the legislator wanted to buy.
Mr David Kirui, an older brother of Ms Chepkwony, said the MP was a neighbour of the constable and was the master of ceremony during her husband’s funeral mid-last year.
Reported by KNA and Kipchumba Some