Cover-up: The shocking truth on fatal crash
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet was duped into supporting a cover-up after a car suspected to belong to televangelist James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism was involved in a fatal accident in Tigoni area of Kiambu nearly two weeks ago.
And it has now emerged that the pastor is illegally escorted by senior police officers during his trips outside Nairobi.
One such officer, an Inspector Christopher Nzuli Nzioka of the Kenya Police Airwing, was in the Range Rover involved in the accident where Mercy Njeri died and her husband was injured.
Ms Njeri was buried on Tuesday with politicians from Kiambu threatening to initiate the sacking of Mr Boinnet if he did not ensure the televangelist was punished.
A preliminary investigation into how police handled the accident case involving the televangelist has revealed the depth of the rot that has pervaded law enforcement in Kenya in the recent past.
POLICE FORGED DOCUMENTS
Departments of the Police Force, including the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Traffic, colluded in staging an outrageous cover-up in a frightening indictment of law enforcement in Kenya.
The investigation report seen by the Nation shows how policemen in the traffic department may have forged documents regarding the case, and suggests an intricate cover-up by the officers in order to hide the truth.
The report also shows how the well-known pastor of Neno Evangelism walks around with “police bodyguards,” though they are not officially assigned to protect him.
Though not captured in the report, sources privy to the investigation also revealed that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations is on the spot because its detectives possibly tampered with official telephone data in a bid to conceal crucial evidence that could help in the case.
It shows that telephone logs from a mast in Tigoni which would have placed the televangelist at or near the scene of the accident were erased. The effect of this was that records of the persons who may have called or received calls from the pastor are unavailable.
With a supposedly reformed Police Force prepared to confront all challenges facing the country, including terrorism, being implicated in such cover-up, the prospects for law enforcement are truly dismal.
It points to a police force ready to engage in criminal conduct to protect suspects, especially those in high places.
Ms Njeri died in the 5.45pm accident after the vehicle she was travelling in collided with the pastor’s vehicle at Manguo in Limuru, on July 26. Her husband, Martin Mbugua Ndung’u, who was driving the car, a Nissan March, survived with serious injuries.
Witnesses claim Pastor Ng’ang’a was driving the Range Rover, but with the support of traffic police officers who attended the scene, he has denied the reports.
Mr Boinnet initially sided with his officers, but made a hasty turnaround and questioned their integrity, following uproar by Kenyans on social media, and ordered an investigation into their conduct.
WITNESSES SAW NG’ANG’A AT SCENE
The report said: “Witnesses at the scene allege they saw Pastor Ng’ang’a after the accident. As they were trying to rescue the injured, two men, one identified as the pastor and another unidentified person alighted from the Range Rover. One claimed that he even called the pastor by name.
The story is corroborated by two other witnesses we managed to get.”
It added: “Although this information was available since the accident happened, the officers who attended the scene didn’t book the allegation which should have happened since no occupant of the Range Rover was found at the scene.”
Traffic officers who went to the scene had written that the Range Rover was being driven by Mr Simon Maina Kuria and the passenger was Inspector Nzilu, who is attached to the Police Airwing headquarters at Wilson Airport.
Investigators sent by Mr Boinnet discounted this report and said the officer, together with another one who was not identified, were accompanying Pastor Ng’ang’a as unofficial bodyguards.
“Also there is allegation that after the incident, there was a plain clothes officer with a pocket phone who was controlling traffic. In our investigation, we came across some facts that Pastor Ng’ang’a sometimes walks with police officers who always protect him and the IP (Nzilu) could be part of his bodyguards. It’s important to note that this is not on official duty,” said the report.
OFFICIAL RECORDS FORGED
Upon receiving this report, Mr Boinnet sent yet another team, led by head of Internal Affairs Unit Leo Nyongesa to conduct more investigations.
The subsequent report has been given to the IG, but he has not made it available to the public.
The one seen by the Nation, however, showed how official records may have been forged after the investigators scrutinised the Detained Motor Vehicles Register (DVR) at Tigoni police station, where the case was handled.
It says: “The old DVR book was opened on April, 19 2012 to May 16, 2015. The new book was opened on May 15, 2015. The last motor vehicle entered in the new DVR before the two cars were taken to the station was on May 22, 2015. There was no other car entered in June contrary to the OB (Occurrence Book). We believe the new DVR was a forgery to try to cover-up since from the OB, there were other cars that were detained.”
Detained vehicles are supposed to be released after undergoing inspection, a process that can take days but in this case, it was completed in a matter of hours and investigators described this in their report as “record-breaking.”
The report further casts doubt as to whether any inspection was carried out.
“The vehicle is alleged to have been towed from the station on July 27 at 4pm destined for inspection in Nairobi, and the inspection done outside the normal working hours. The inspection report indicates it was inspected at 5.20pm and by 6.22pm, the officer was back at the station having completed the whole process.
That is surely record-breaking considering the distance and the fact that the vehicle in question was being towed,” said the report.
Then there is data obtained from a local mobile telephone service provider that was expected to show the location of individual handsets, prior, during, and after the accident, so as to give clues on the location of their owners.
Though not included in the report, a source privy to the investigation said this is the data which was probably interfered with and some crucial details deleted.
For instance, while it gave the calls and SMS data for July25, 22 and 29, those recorded on July 26 and 27 were missing.
Such data is usually obtained by Criminal Intelligence Unit at the Directorate’s headquarters.
The report also heavily questions the credibility and reliability of traffic police officers.
The officers in question were led by the base commander Inspector Patrick Baya.
The report also shows how the officers hurriedly released the Range Rover to the owner after the accident, even before the driver was charged — an act the investigators described as “very suspicious.”
The report listed several points questioning the initial findings by police.
“The driver of the Range Rover only surfaced a day after the accident, but his appearance is not recorded anywhere in the OB (Occurrence Book). Only his statement is recorded and it does not mention the hospital he went to,” it says.
The IG had initially said that the Range Rover was on a test drive and had General Dealers (KG) licence, but the subsequent investigation seemed to challenge this.
Mr Boinnet has said that if found to have given incorrect information, the officers involved would be dismissed from service and prosecuted.