The Director of Public Prosecutions Thursday ordered the prosecution of Meru governor Kawira Mwangaza’s brother Murangiri Kenneth Guantai alias Tali to face murder charges over the murder of blogger Daniel Muthiani Benard alias Sniper.
Guantai is a police officer and was a bodyguard to Mwangaza.
DPP Mulele Ingonga also directed the prosecution to charge Vincent Mureithi Kirimi alias Supuu with murder.
This is after he received police investigation file for his advice.
“Upon thorough analysis of the facts, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to sustain the charge of murder against Vincent Mureithi Kirimi alias Supuu and Murangiri Kenneth Guantai alias Tali.”
”Consequently, the DPP has directed that Vincent Mureithi Kirimi alias Supuu and Murangiri Kenneth Guantai alias Tali be arraigned before the High Court at Kiambu for the offence of Murder contrary to Section 203 as read with Section 204 of the Penal Code forthwith,” he said in a statement.
The prosecution filed Miscellaneous Application No. E011 of 2024 and E025 of 2024 against five other suspects who are pending before Kibera Law Courts.
Sniper disappeared on December 2, 2023 before his body was recovered dumped in a thicket on the banks of River Mutonga in Tharaka Nithi county on December 16.
The Chief Government pathologist Johansen Oduor who conducted the postmortem on December 22 said the deceased was tortured before being strangled.
He also had fractured ribs.
Police say Supuu lured the deceased through a phone call that the county boss wanted to meet him for truce before he travels from his home at Kabuitu in Igembe South.
According to investigators, the deceased was lured by the five suspects through a phone call alleging that Governor Mwangaza wanted to meet him.
She was however not in the office and reports say she did not meet him.
The move came days after husband to Mwangaza was Sunday questioned for hours in the murder probe of blogger Daniel Muthiani Benard alias Sniper.
Police said Murega Baichu was summoned and grilled for hours at Meru DCI office as part of the ongoing probe into the murder.
Also grilled was Mwangaza’s sister Miriam Guantai and her husband and the governor’s son.
Mwangaza accompanied them to the sessions at Meru DCI offices.
They denied any role in the murder of Sniper.
A court in Kiambu has ordered police to charge five suspects with murder of the blogger on Wednesday January 17.
The prosecution had on Friday January 12 asked a Kiambu High Court for a continued detention of the five suspects in connection with the murder for a further 14 days to allow the police to conclude their investigations.
The prosecution wanted Kenneth Mutua Matiri, Fredrick Muruiki Kiugi, Frankline Kimathi, Timothy Kinoti and Murangiri Kenneth Guantai be detained as police continue their investigation into the criminal offence of murder contrary to Section 203 as read with Section 204 of the Penal Code following the brutal murder Sniper, aged 33, on December 16, 2023.
The prosecution, through Evelyn Onunga, argued that releasing the suspects at this point would compromise the integrity of the ongoing investigations and interfere with witnesses.
In her application, she urged the court to balance the right to liberty of the suspects against the interest of justice, peace, and security in the circumstances of the case.
The suspects were arrested in Meru town by detectives from the Homicide Investigation Department at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on January 4, 2024 and booked at various police stations within Nairobi and Kiambu. But the court declined the request and ordered they take plea on Wednesday.
The five are separate from another three suspects who are being detained over the murder.
Kibera Senior Resident Magistrate William Lopokoit Monday January 8 allowed the police to continue holding three more suspects associated with the murder for 21 days pending investigations.
The prosecution, led by Joseph Mburugu and assisted by Juddie Kitilit and Maureen Tanui convinced the court that the three suspects could interfere with investigations and needed to be in custody.
The court directed Boniface Githinji, Brian Mwenda, and Grace Kathambi be held at Gigiri police station or any other station pending investigation.
The matter shall be mentioned on January 29, 2024. Mwenda, is a bodaboda rider in Meru.
He was arrested on the outskirts of Gachanka village, Ntima East division in North Imenti.
Police from DCI on Saturday January 6 stormed and pitched tent at the home of governor Mwangaza in Milimani estate, cordoning it off for the better part of the day.
Homicide detectives declared the governor’s residence a crime scene as preliminary investigations reveal the killing was planned and executed by her close associates.
The detectives had earlier arrested five suspect among them Mwangaza’s brother and bodyguard Kenneth Murangiri Guantai, Director of Protocol in her government Kenneth Mutuma Matiri alias Kasigi, Fredrick Muriuki Kiugu, Frankline Kimathi and Timothy Kinoti.
Circumstantial evidence has linked the governor’s office to the murder.
But the officials say they are yet to know if she knew the incident was taking place. She was not present then, the officials say.
A call data analysis of the suspects also established a pattern of communication before the killing of the blogger.
The probe seeks to, among other things, establish the mastermind of the plan to eliminate Sniper and how the killers were procured.
Under section 20 of the Penal Code, a principal offender includes the one who committed the actual act, one who abets or aids or omits to do something for purposes of aiding or abetting the commission of an offence.