Six suspects linked to human rights defender Caroline Mwatha’s murder will be detained for 14 days.
Michael Onchiri, Betty Akinyi, Richard Ramoya, Alexander Gikonyo, Georgia Achieng and Stephen Maina will be held pending completion of investigations. Chief Inspector Joseph Wanjohi told a Makadara court that the suspects were arrested on Tuesday in Dandora and later taken to the Buru Buru police station. They are under probe alongside other people yet to be arrested.
“I and my team of investigators are yet to analyse the mobile phone handsets of the suspects used at the time of the incident, the clothes they wore, murder weapons used in the incident and yet to conduct an identification parade of the suspects,” Wanjohi told the court.
He warned that the suspects could interfere with witnesses or abscond if freed on bond. Only their families and lawyers will be informed of their cells.
The suspects opposed the prosecution’s application, arguing they were not flight risks and would cooperate if released on bond. Akinyi said:
I’m sick and can’t run away from police. The officers already know where we are staying and there is no need of being detained.
But Makadara chief magistrate Heston Nyaga said that as much as the suspects have a constitutional right to be released on bond, the Constitution also allows their detention because they face serious charges. He also cited public interest and the suspects’ security. He ordered that Akinyi be taken for treatment.
The case will be mentioned on February 27. The DCI said Caroline died after a botched abortion at a clinic in Dandora Phase 1. It said the suspects facilitated or participated in the abortion. DCI chief George Kinoti said:
On February 6, Caroline went to a clinic known as New Njiru Community Centre within Dandora Phase 1. It is believed an abortion was procured by the owner of the clinic, Betty Akinyi, alias Betty Ramoya, and one ‘Dr’ Michael Onchiri, alias Dr Mike.
“Investigators believe that Caroline died in the clinic and the body was transferred to the Nairobi City Mortuary on February 7 at 4.42am.”
Kinoti said a missing person’s report on Caroline was filed at the Dandora police station last Friday. He said records at City Mortuary indicated that the body was ferried in a vehicle with registration number KBP 677B.The police believe Gikonyo was responsible for Caroline’s alleged five-month pregnancy. Caroline’s husband, Joshua Ochieng, works in Dubai. Kinoti said Caroline and Gikonyo were in constant communication before the alleged abortion. He said investigators established that Gikonyo sent Sh6,000 for the abortion.
Caroline’s family identified the body on Tuesday evening after two failed searches on Friday and Saturday last week.