On July 22, 2022, three police officers – Sergeant Fredrick Ole Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku – and police informer Peter Ngugi, were found guilty of planning and murdering lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri. On February 3, 2023, the officers were sentenced. The key mastermind, Leliman was sentenced to death.
Cheburet and Sylvia were sentenced to 30 and 24 years in jail respectively. Police informer Ngugi was jailed for 20 years.
The fourth accused person, Sergeant Leonard Mwangi was acquitted of all charges by Justice Jessie Lesit.
In prosecuting this case, investigators were greatly helped by a confession that was done by one of the accused who was identified as Ngugi.
Ngugi is one of the four who have been found guilty of the murder. He revealed that the officers had planned and mercilessly executed Willie and his associates. The police on this death mission were all from the Mlolongo Administration Police post.
Ngugi had said that Fredrick Leliman haf suffocated them with a polythene bag and strangled them with a rope, before dumping their bodies in a river.
“During my visit to the OCS I came to know officer Leliman. In 2016 while at Mlolongo Police Post Canteen, Leliman approached me and told me he needed some assistance from me,” said Ngugi.
“He (Leliman) told me that there was a case that was bothering him. He revealed to me that he had previously shot and injured a person, and that injured man was really pushing for his dismissal and was being assisted by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) in the case.”
On June 22, 2016, Ngugi said they met with Leliman who told him that the said case against him was set for hearing on June 23 2016 and he had no option but to eliminate the complainant.
It was at that meeting that Ngugi was assigned his role in the murder plot. He was supposed to follow the complainant after the court attendance and keep informing Leliman about the man’s movement. He was paid Sh. 2,000 for that job.
“On 22 June 2016 I met Leliman at Mlolongo Post canteen and he told me the plan was still to kill the wanted man. What he wanted me to do was to follow him after court attendance and inform him about the person’s movement. I asked him how I will identify him and he told me not to worry,” said Ngugi.
“On June 23, I left for Mlolongo and while on my way to the station I met Leliman driving. I got to the front seat and was introduced to a lady who would identify the wanted man to me. He dropped us at Mlolongo bus station and I was given Sh. 2,000 which I was told to share with the lady.”
At the Mavoko Law Courts where the case was being heard, Ngugi had said that the lady showed him the wanted man.
“She told me ‘kamutu yako ndio hiyo (There is your person),” said Ngugi.
“The case took like two hours and I remained outside all through until when the wanted man came out. When he came out he was accompanied by another man (lawyer).
I called Leliman and he told me that the other man was also a thief and was together with the wanted man,” he added.
Here is the full confession:
“Sergeant Leonard Maina Mwangi stopped the wanted man’s car and they stopped immediately. Mwangi told them that we are officers and that the three are under arrest. They were told to get out of the car and enter Sergeant Leliman’s car. They did not argue. They complied with the orders.
I took possession of the car and drove it off. Sergeant Leliman then overtook me and went straight to the AP post. As agreed earlier, my assignment was to dispose off their vehicle. The original plan was to drive to Meru and leave the car there.
However, I was told on phone he had interviewed the driver who told him that his taxi was operating around Zimmerman therefore driving to that route would be risky and the car did not have enough fuel and that would be risky too.
So I decided to drive to Limuru because I knew the route. At around 3pm, I abandoned the vehicle at Kwambira. Another thing that was disturbing my mind was that the three had left their phones in the car.
I switched off four of the five phones, but I was unable to switch off one of them. After parking the car at Kwambira, I threw away the phones. While still there, I called Leliman and told him I was on my way to Syokimau.
He told me that they were still at Mlolongo and that I should find them there. I arrived in Mlolongo at 5pm and found sergeant Mwangi and Leliman and other officers at Connection bar. They told me that the victims are safe at Syokimau AP Post.
Leliman was called and told that one of the victim’s had managed to call the wife telling her that he had been locked in at Syokimau and has no idea where the car was. They were all shocked to hear that.
We went to the AP post where Mwangi handcuffed them from behind. They were all put in the boot of a car before we drove along Nairobi–Mombasa Road to a bush.
After a few minutes Kamenjo (a police officer) joined us while still in the bush. We started to disagree on how to kill the victims. Myself and Mwangi were of the view that we had been exposed and the best thing was to release the three. However, Leliman and Kamenjo insisted that the three must be killed.
We discussed for more than three hours at around 9pm, a police officer came and told us that members of the public were wondering why and what we were doing there. Kamenjo told them that we are police officers and we are on duty.
The first victim who was the main target was killed using a polythene bag and a rope. His body was stashed in a sack and put in a boot.
At around 11pm, the second victim was taken to a different corner and killed in the same style. After he died he was put in two sacks because he was tall and couldn’t fit in one sack. His body was then taken to the boot.
The third one was strangled to death using a rope and polythene bag.
While at the execution scene, my role was to hand the victims over to sergeant Mwangi who would take them to Leliman who would then kill them.
After all the three victims were killed we took off using the Nairobi–Mombasa Road and Kamenjo who claimed to have worked at Ol Donyo Sabuk was to lead us to where we would dispose off the body.
When we reached the scene, we threw the bodies into the river.
We drove back using the same route and at 4am we reached Mlolongo and ate our supper. I was left in the bar where I slept on the seat. I had a lot of beer that forced me into a black out.”
Four AP officers — Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku and Leonard Maina Mwangi — and Ngugi (police informant) are facing charges of killing Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda and Mr Muiruri.
The bodies of the three were found in Athi River near Ol Donyo Sabuk police post a week after their disappearance.