The prosecution has decided to prefer a robbery with violence charge against the six suspects arrested in connection with the killing of Kabete MP George Muchai and his three aides in Nairobi’s city centre.
Police believe the suspects are criminals were on a robbery spree around the city and not assassins hired to eliminate Mr Muchai as portrayed by political leaders including President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In Kenya, a robbery with violence charge attracts a maximum sentence of the death penalty.
The suspects, among them two women, are detained at the Central police station for the next 22 days to help wrap up investigations.
They were reportedly arrested after two guns, one believed to have been used in the actual shooting and another snatched from one of Mr Muchai’s bodyguards, were found in their possession.
According to an affidavit presented in the case on Monday, police have downgraded the killing of Mr Muchai from murder to an incident of robbery with violence.
Police at the same time requested that the suspects not to be photographed in court for fear that publishing their pictures in the media may “prejudice” on going investigations.
A prosecutor said they may be photographed at a later stage after the case is established and formal charges preferred against them.
The prosecution had applied for the extended custodial order before principal magistrate Benson Nzakyo at the Milimani law courts , and was granted the request “to help trace accomplices said to be still at large.”
“The respondents herein are being investigated in relation to a series of robberies within Nairobi and Kiambu counties which include a robbery incident that occurred on February 7 along Kenyatta Avenue during which Mr George Mukuru Muchai, Stephen Ituu Wambugu, Mr Samwel Kimathi Kairikia and Mr Samwel Lekakey Matanta were killed,” prosecutor Duncan Ondimu said.
So far seven suspects are in police custody, including a man who last week was “being investigated for murder.”
Mr Simon Wambugu Gichamba, 20, is detained for the 14 days to help police with investigations.
He returns to court on February 27 for “further directions.”
On Monday, his suspected accomplices, Mr Erick Muyera Isabwa alias chairman, mR Rapahel Kimani Gachii alias Kim, Mr Mustafa Kiani Anyonyi alias Musti , Mr Stephen Asitiva Lipapo alais Chokore, Ms Jane Wanjiku Kamau alais Chiro and Ms Margeret Njeri Wachori were ordered detained of 22 days.
They will return to court on March 10.
“They were arrested on February 13 at various places within Kiambu county…in the course of investigations two firearms were recovered from their residences,” prosecutor Ondimu said.
He said the suspects are assisting in tracing their accomplices who are still at large and that the investigating team intends to travel to the suspects’ rural homes to make further recoveries and arrests.
“The investigating team needs more time to be able to identify all persons who may have fallen victim of violent robberies committed by the suspects and be able to conduct an identification parade,” the prosecutor told the magistrate.
A lone gunman who stepped out of a car which had brushed Mr Muchai’s on the fateful morning is said to have opened fire on the trade unionist-cum-politician at around 3am.
The gunman reportedly motioned two other accomplices who stole the bodyguard’s pistol and a briefcase from Mr Muchai’s car before speeding off in getaway vehicle.