On the afternoon of September 21, 2011, President Mwai Kibaki received news that one of his lawyers, Anthony Nahashon Ngunjiri, had been shot dead by young police officers. An agitated Kibaki sent the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) into a tailspin after demanding to know how and why it happened.
Ngunjiri was the lead counsel alongside Pheroze Nowrojee in Kibaki’s presidential petition against President Daniel Arap Moi from 1997 . Moi was declared the winner by 2,445,801 votes against Kibaki’s 1,895,527 votes.
“Our then-boss, Mr. Ndegwa Muhoro, called the then-Head of the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU), Mr. Richard Katola , who in turn called me and demanded that I file a report on the incident within two hours,” recalls a detective who was then employed at the DCI base in the old Nairobi area President, and when I did my job I would be better off giving up my other activities to take care of the problem.”
The official who still serves as DCI’s senior officer in the eastern region confided in me to Nation .Africa that death had touched a sore spot in the country’s ultimate power.
“Even before I had figured out how to tackle the task of completing the report within the required two hours , I received a message from Mr. K atola which read: Forwarded from NIS One (Michael) Gichangi: Ngunjiri Letter: A.N Ngunjiri Advocates, State One Advocate since 1997 Owner of One World Bar on Park Road, shot dead on Garden Estate, suspected two officers from Kasarani Police Station” , he reveals to DCI
The Park Road bar (now the site of a chip shop) was known to be frequented by high-level power figures, particularly in the security sector. Ngunjiri was extremely influential and people campaigning for House favors, particularly those from his home district of Gatanga and wider Murang’a County, sought him like medicine.
Katola’s message ended: “Suspicion to assassination, highly sensitive, handle with care, State House interested.”
Another problematic assignment
The officer says he’s honored to hear he’s doing the job for the President , but the task at hand was simple, because if the two officers who shot the lawyer and the crime scene were known, “the assignment concerned only securing the crime scene, apprehending the suspects and taking their statements, and deriving a Preliminary report for those responsible that be”. He says he rushed together a team of seven officers who drove to the scene and it proved to be another problematic assignment as it also involved a former senior officer identified as Joseph Macharia.’ /p>
Beside the lawyer’s body were papers showing that he was acting for former Kieni MP Munene Kairu and had gone to Mr Macharia’s private home to serve on him court documents in a property case involving the both were involved.
“It immediately dawned on me that power games had led to the fatal shooting. Here we had Kibaki’s attorney, acting on orders from a political friend of the President, serving a senior official who was also a friend of the State House. It became very clear that it was a game of egos that collided with fatal consequences,” the official said.
The Katola team – in a total demonstration of how State House can rule to close operations confusing – was followed by another led by Nairobi Deputy DCI Chief Julius Ruteere, as well as Nairobi Police Chief Anthony Kibuchi.
The panic and confusion of Kibaki interest in the incident was evident , when three reports were filed – one by the Katola team, another by Katola’s boss Mr. Ruteere and the third by Mr. Kibuchi.
But all reports said one thing – that Ngunjiri had left to help Mr To serve court documents on Macharia in a real estate civil lawsuit filed against him by Mr. Kairu.
“Mr. Macharia mobilized a group of youths to prevent Mr. Ngunjiri from serving him. In the scuffle that ensued, Mr Ngunjiri drew a pistol and the youths ran away. By then, Mr Macharia had called his connections to the police and reported that he had been attacked by an armed thug. The police responded and found the man with a Ceska pistol… When he was told to surrender, he resisted and the police opened fire,” the Ruteere team’s report said. >
The Katola’s report -Teams showed that Mr. Macharia knew Ngunjiri well and his call to the police was not to cause the lawyer’s death but to help him avoid service.
Those were the times when Das Law had not been amended to accommodate other forms of service of writs of complaint. One had to be served on the defendant in person.
Ngunjiri appears to have had his fate tied to service of lawsuit papers, having lost the Kibaki Petition on the same service in 2011.
Both both the High Court and the Court of Appeal agreed that Kibaki Moi (who was published as duly elected President on January 5, 1998) did not personally serve with the January 22, 1998 petition. Ngunjiri had argued that it was not possible to personally serve Moi because of the protection he enjoyed as President.
On December 10, 1999, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s ruling that Ngunjiri on behalf of of Kibaki, had not personally served Moi with legal papers – and 11 years later he died trying to personally minister to a defendant in a property lawsuit.
The law has since been amended to allow court orders to respond to respondents in alternative ways delivered, including publication in newspapers.
Regarding Ngunjiri’s death, the Kibuchi team’s report named the officers who responded to Mr Macharia’s 911 call as Mohammed Ismail Madey and Mr Abdi Elmoge Abdi. Ruteere’s team added that “the two have since been arrested, are being questioned and will be charged while we search for Mr. Macharia, who has since escaped”.
The three reports were made by the NIS and zu summarized and forwarded to the President. In his address to reporters, it was obvious that Mr. Kibuchi (now retired) sympathized with his boys, but interest in the matter offered no chance to protect them.
“My officials mistook the lawyer for one Gangster…Before officers arrived, he was beaten up by youths hired by the property owner…We are investigating whether he died from injuries from the beating or the gunshot,” the police chief replied.
The autopsy report filed by government pathologist Johansen Oduor indicates that “the cause of death of the deceased was a head injury from gunshot wounds from a low-velocity firearm at point-blank range”.
/ em> Learned that State House pressure on the case eased when a report was filed linking the two officers, along with two civilians, to the murder of the Kibaki attorney t had been charged.
The report prepared by Mr. Ruteere read: “Please note that today, September 24, 2011, we received the following suspects in the murder of A nthony Nahashon Ngunjiri in contravention of Section 203, as He is read with Section 204 of the Criminal Code: 1) Mohammed Ismail Madey 2) Mr. Abdi Elmoge Abdi 3) David Kihara Muchiri 4) Joseph Muchiri Macharia. For reference, the case is held in the High Court at No. 75 of 2011.”
The case is still pending even after Judge James Wakiaga brought all the defendants into their defense on July 17, 2019. Kibaki died on April 21st and was buried on Saturday.