The payment of Sh20 million for a road construction tender is at the centre of investigations into the murder of a woman whose mutilated body was found in a thicket in Kajiado county.
Some of the suspects in custody have told police they were partners with Caroline Wanjiku Maina in a construction firm that won a tender to build a sidewalk in one of the counties.
They said she had been paid the money but failed to honour her promise.
According to statements recorded by the suspects, there were four partners in the company including Wanjiku. The others were two men and another woman.
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It is Wanjiku who had apparently secured the tender but because she did not have enough money to deliver, she sought the help of her partners who gave out the money in anticipation of profits once they are paid.
“They claim the deceased was paid the money and did not pay their share as agreed, which caused the rift for a while,” said an investigator aware of the developments.
One of the partners in the deal had even sent Wanjiku a message threatening “dire consequences” if she did not pay.
The suspects claim they were also upset after they learned Wanjiku had bought a four-wheel-drive car for her use.
Under pressure, Wanjiku was informed by a friend she could make quick money through a loan from a Sacco.
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She told one of her friends that she wanted to boost her Sacco shares to enable her get a threefold loan for her to pay her partners.
Four prime suspects are in custody. Police also suspect the woman was drugged before her murder. A postmortem is scheduled for Wednesday.
Police also suspect that Wanjiku was sexually assaulted.
On the day she went missing on February 12, she withdrew Sh350,000 from one of the banks in Nairobi, before proceeding to meet one of the suspects at Ngara for “a business deal”.
Before she drove to Ngara, Wanjiku made a phone call to a female friend explaining that her meeting with the suspect was to guide her into boosting her Sacco shares with the withdrawn amount.
At Ngara, Wanjiku was forced into a black Toyota Crown car in which the suspect was waiting before she was sandwiched by the other suspects and handcuffed.
The suspects told police they expected her to come with more money but were disappointed to learn she had only Sh350,000.
From Ngara, they drove towards Museum Hill, Waiyaki Way, Naivasha Road and stopped at Gatina area within Kawangware. All along, someone else was driving Wanjiku’s Toyota Axio car, which they abandoned in Kawangware.
The group then proceeded to Kajiado where they told police they tortured the woman before killing her. Their movements were captured on security cameras along the roads they used.
The suspects told police they had heard that Wanjiku owed many people.
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After their arrest, the team handling the case escorted two of the suspects to Kajiado’s Paranai area, being the scene where the suspects dumped Wanjiku’s body after torturing her to death.
The detectives said a pair of handcuffs used to restrain the woman, her company stamp stolen from her car and a surgical face mask were recovered.
By the time the body was discovered on February 15, it was decomposing. The family had circulated posters with her pictures and details seeking public help to trace her whereabouts.
In the February 13 report at Muthangari police station, Wanjiku’s Toyota Axio car was found abandoned in Kawangware near Gatina Primary School. That was a day after she went missing.
The probe was then taken over by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, Nairobi Area Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) working alongside Dagoretti-based counterparts. They arrested the four suspects.
Accompanied by Wanjiku’s younger sister Rose, the team then proceeded to Kajiado hospital mortuary where Rose identified Wanjiku’s body.
The body was said to have been collected from the scene on February 15.
The body had physical injuries on both wrists and its entirety, with the eyes plucked out of their sockets.
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It was moved to the Kenyatta University mortuary where a postmortem is planned to establish how she died. Another Mercedes-Benz car believed to have been used to dump the victim’s body has since been recovered at one of the suspect’s home.
A magistrate in Kibera on February 16 allowed police to detain the suspects for 10 days pending investigations.
The suspects are Mercy Gitiri Mongo, Edwin Otieno Odiwuor, Samuel Okoth Adinda and Stevenson Oduor Ouma. DCI director George Kinoti said they are pursuing more leads on how and why she was killed.
They intend to talk to the government agency that issued the tender and paid the money as part of the probe.
– The Star/ Cyrus Ombati