Uhuru Kenyatta

Two robbers who stole from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin in 2013 will serve an 18-year prison term instead of receiving a death sentence.

High Court Judge Ngenye Macharia on Friday withdrew a death sentence slapped on Brian Ayusi and Paul Bulinda in a lower court after an accomplice testified against them.

They violently robbed Ngegi Muigai’s home and tied up the family.

The judge upheld the lower court’s decision but set aside the death sentence because it’s not mandatory anymore.

“I have substituted it (death) with 18 years imprisonment from the time they were arrested,” Macharia said. Time already served will be deducted.

Six years ago Ayusi and Bulinda were found guilty of three counts of robbery with violence at Ngegi Muigai’s home.

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They were convicted by the testimony of their co-accused who claimed Bulinda sold her a stolen phone which led the police to her.

The accomplice said Ayusi was with him as he sold her the phone. She recognised them during an identification parade.

According to the charges, the two stormed Muigai’s house on December 4, 2013, at Kyuna Estate Spring Valley, armed with weapons, and tied up the watchman.

Muigai’s son came into the compound riding a motorcycle and saw two strangers. He asked who they were but they held him captive too.

In her testimony, Muigai’s wife was coming down to get food in the kitchen when he saw his son in the company of two strangers. They forced her to open the door.

Muigai came down from the bedroom when he heard a commotion. Later, the entire family was tied up together in the master bedroom.

For more than four hours, the robbers ransacked the house taking all valuables before asking to be dropped off at their destination in the morning.

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The witnesses said the robbers said they did not want to leave the house early. They were to leave close to dawn since they did not want to come across police officers.

“The appellants were in the house for approximately four hours during which there was a blackout,” the judge said.

“They asked Muigai’s son to drive them and drop them where they wanted to go so they would not hurt them. And that is exactly what happened.”

Around 5am, Muigai’s son drove the two in a Volkswagen and dropped them near Kawangware Estate.

“In fact, these boys were cordial to the victims, no one was hurt. They told their victims to be calm since all they needed was money. There was violence however when they said they would shoot the son ‘who was very rude’,” the judge said.

Justice Macharia, however, faulted the court’s decision to fully rely on evidence from an accomplice without sufficient corroborating it.

“Evidence by an accomplice is admissible in court. Since the phone wasn’t found with any of the two, the evidence by the accomplice ought to be corroborated sufficiently,” she noted.

She upheld the identification parade process which she said was correctly conducted according to the law.

– The Star