Citizen TV news anchor Jacque Maribe and her fiance Joseph Irungu will both be charged with the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani, Police have confirmed.
Maribe has been implicated in the gory murder by her conduct and association with prime suspect Irungu aka “Jowie”.
Her charges emanate from what Police describe as illegal handling of a firearm after a 9mm live bullet was recovered in her bedroom. The ammo was linked to a gun which belongs to her neighbor, Brian Kasaine, that Jowie allegedly used to shoot himself but later claimed he was shot at by unknown people.
DCI George Kinoti told the Star yesterday that evidence gathered by the investigators so far reveals that Maribe was indirectly linked to Monica’s murder.
“We know that she helped Irungu cover up the offence by burning the clothes that he wore when he committed the crime.”
“We also have evidence pointing to her involvement in the crime, ” the chief sleuth said without elaborating on the evidence in his custody.
Section 222 of the Penal Code states that “Any person who becomes an accessory after the fact to murder is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.”
The Citizen TV reporter and Irungu, who is being held at Muthaiga Police Station, have been described as prime suspects in the gruesome murder.
Maribe’s lawyer, Katwa Kigen, was surprised that the Police had decided to prefer a murder charge against her.
“We believe that the Police have got it wrong. But since they have made that decision, we will fight this charges in court,” said Kigen.
Irungu was last week presented before Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo, who allowed Police to hold him at Gigiri Police Station for 10 days as investigations continue.
Police are expected to produce him in court on Tuesday where he will be charged, probably alongside Maribe.
Yesterday Kinoti dismissed claims that Maribe recorded the initial statement under duress because she had been threatened by her boyfriend.
“Days after she helped Irungu destroy the evidence, she did not report the incident until Police arrested her. Why” We believe she was part of the cover up,” Kinoti said.
He added: “The best she can get in this is a plea bargain and that is if she is willing and ready to tell the truth.”
Another investigator who spoke of claims of Maribe being under duress told the Star that she has never given any reason why she had recanted her initial statement in which she claimed Irungu was shot by thugs.
“It does not seem to make a lot of sense that someone who was under threat of life could wake up, go to work and continue with her life as normal without reporting to any authority,” said the officer on condition of anonymity.
Businessman Brian Kassaine, a mutual friend and neighbour of Irungu and Maribe at Royal Park Estate in Lang’ata, Nairobi, is also in police custody on suspicion that he could be an accomplice.
According to the investigators, Irungu may have used his gun in an alleged attempted suicide and Kassaine hid it in his ceiling. He has told the police that the he gave Irungu the gun without bullets because Irungu told him that he wanted to go to the shooting range to practice.
Langata Police have also recommended that Irungu be charged with attempted suicide.
Kiambu Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku on Monday allowed Police to detain Maribe for 11 days. She will be produced in court on Thursday next week.
Both Irungu and Maribe have in statements recorded with the Police denied any involvement in the September 21 murder of Monica, whose body was found in her apartment in Kilimani, Nairobi.
Murder is a capital offence that requires the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt in court and Kinoti believes he has enough evidence.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji will review the file to determine if the evidence is adequate to support the charges before issuing consent to prosecute.
“The file will be with the DPP this weekend for his review,” said an investigating officer from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
Monica Nyawira was killed in a gruesome manner. Her throat had been slit open and her hands and legs tied with ropes in a bathtub running with water. Police say the scene of crime indicated she could have been tortured before being murdered.
After the postmortem, the family said she had also been raped.
Early this week, Maribe distanced herself from Irungu as she fought off possible prosecution. She recanted her earlier statement to Police explaining how Irungu was shot. The retraction, Police say, was expected to let her off the hook to become a prosecution witness against Irungu.
In her latest statement recorded on Tuesday, Maribe demolished the explanation by Irungu that he was shot by criminals on a motorbike while the two were driving home on the night of September 20.
Earlier, in a self-recorded statement to Kilimani DCI, Maribe detailed how she and her Irungu were trailed by gunmen, whom she claimed shot Irungu.
A similar report had been filed at the Lang’ata Police station by Maribe and Irungu , blaming the motorbike criminals for the shooting.