By John Ward for Nairobi Law Monthly
In September 1988, Julie Ward, a young woman enjoying her holiday, disappeared in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Game Reserve.
Immediately, Jonathan Moi was rumoured to have been involved in Julie’s death. The first information concerning Jonathan, the son of Kenya’s former President Daniel Moi, came from a Swiss TV crew working in the park.
They had offered their five radio-equipped vehicles to assist in the search for the missing tourist. Senior warden Simon ole Makallah abruptly told them to mind their own business. The crew had heard rumours about Jonathan being seen with a group of men in the park.
After six weeks of filming, the Swiss left Kenya. By now, some of the dismembered remains of Julie Ward had been discovered in a remote corner of the game park rarely visited by tourists.
Before leaving, they went to the Makallah’s office to settle their account, and found him sitting head in hands. He said he had been summoned to a meeting with President Moi.
Simon ole Makallah
On September 12, 1988, I arrived from the UK to search for my daughter, six days after she was reported missing. I launched an air search on September 13 and located Julie’s Suzuki Jeep. It was in a deep gully, several miles into the harsh bush.
On arrival at the scene, I found an empty vehicle. I assumed that Julie had somehow got stuck in the mud of the gully and was now attempting to walk to safety. Why and how the vehicle had arrived at that remote location remained baffling. But that could wait; the priority was to find her.
Although Makallah was aware of the situation and responsible for all activities and tourists in the park, he had not ordered a search by any of the 113 rangers under his command.
At 11 a.m., on the day Julie’s Suzuki was spotted, Makallah was informed immediately. Instead of rushing to the scene to take command of the ground search, Makallah drove to Serena Lodge, 50km in the opposite direction.
Makallah already knew a search would be pointless. It was not until mid-afternoon that Makallah finally arrived at the scene. By then, over 30 other people – rangers, police, council workers – had been to the scene and left for the search. Before leaving the vehicle, a police inspector known as Anthony Mwaura instructed two constables to remove Julie’s personal possessions from the vehicle and take them to the Sand River Police Post for safe keeping. The constables removed maps, a pair of trainers, two bottles of beer, a pair of binoculars and various other items, including tents and sleeping bags.
Then the police and rangers commenced the search. When Makallah arrived at 3p.m., there was no one at the vehicle.
While giving evidence in court during the trial of two rangers, Makallah was asked by the trial Judge, Mr Justice Fida Hussien Abdullah, what he had done when he arrived at the vehicle. Makallah said he “peeked” inside the vehicle. He listed what he saw: some maps, a pair of trainers, two bottles of beer, a pair of binoculars. These items had already been removed by the police three hours before he arrived.
However, Makallah was only a witness. The accused were two rangers, who had been arrested and charged with murder on the advice of Scotland Yard. They were eventually acquitted. Nonetheless, the trial Judge said that Makallah must have had prior knowledge of Julie’s Suzuki before the afternoon of the September 13. Therefore, Makallah had knowledge of the circumstances of the murder that he had not disclosed to the Court.
The spotlight of suspicion fell squarely on Makallah – and for good reason.
Back to the afternoon of the September 13, the vehicle was discovered. Makallah had stayed at the scene of the stranded Suzuki for an hour. This was confirmed by several witnesses, including his driver John Teeka, an inspector Odhiambo (who was in Makallah’s vehicle), a group of rangers and Assistant Warden James Sindyo, who arrived at the scene in a separate vehicle.
At 4p.m., Makallah joined the ground search. The gully where Julie’s Suzuki was found is a tributary of the river, on the north side of the Sand River. The river flows through the game park contained within steep sided banks. There is no vehicle crossing at this point.
Even on foot, the river would normally be impassable. On this day, September 13, the water level was low and it would have been just possible to slide and scramble down the steep bank, wade across the river, and scramble up the opposite side.
Why on earth would anyone think Julie had done that? Her vehicle had left clear tyre marks in the long grass on the North side. Logically, if she had got the vehicle stuck in the gully, she would have followed these tracks across country, back to the road between Keekorok and Sand River Gate, from where she had allegedly started her journey.
However, logic has no place in the events surrounding Julie’s disappearance. She was returning to Nairobi to fly home, after her brief visit to the Masai Mara. The allegation that she had decided to turn off the main road, drive across the trackless, rockstrewn bush before attempting to drive through a deep gully, is as ridiculous as it is illogical.
It became obvious that someone else had driven Julie’s vehicle across the bush and into the gully. The spotlight of suspicion on Simon ole Makallah became brighter and even more focused, thanks to his actions.
Instead of searching on the north side of the Sand River (where the Suzuki was stuck), Makallah went to the south.
To cross the river, Makallah had to drive along the top of the bank of the Sand River for three kilometres to a place called the Sand River Crossing. Here the riverbanks are less steep and crossing with a 4×4 vehicle is possible at certain times of the year.
Once on the South side, Makallah was confronted with a vast vista of featureless bush, stretching a full half circle of 180 degrees from the distant horizon in the east to the west. For Makallah, it should have been a difficult decision to pick possible directions to take to start his search.
Makallah had left the Suzuki in the gully at 4p.m. At 4.26p.m., he sent a radio signal to park headquarters, informing them he had found Julie’s remains. The place was 10km, in a south-easterly direction, a desolate corner of the Masai Mara. There are no tracks leading to it and it is identifiable only by a distinctively shaped large tree set among dozens of other smaller trees and bushes.
Police have retraced Makallah’s movements for that day. They have re-enacted Makallah’s journey from the gully, across the Sand River, and to the site of Julie’s remains.
Even though the police now knew where the site of Julie’s remains were located, the quickest time for their journey was exactly 26 minutes. (And, because this evidence is so crucial, the journey has been re-enacted many times and 26 minutes is the shortest elapsed time).
Twenty-six minutes is also the precise time it took Makallah to drive from the Suzuki in the gully to the site of the Julie’s remains. Makallah claimed he had no idea which direction to take and that his search had been random and his discovery was just a matter of chance.
It was clear that not only had Makallah lied about his prior knowledge of the items in Julie’s vehicle, he had also lied about his knowledge of the location of Julie’s remains. He undoubtedly knew where to go. By sending a timed radio message on his arrival, he confirmed his own lies.
A copy of the timed radio signal was discovered at park headquarters. It is now with British Police.
In trying to extricate himself from the situation, Makallah claimed he had been led by vultures circling in the sky. It was pointed out to Makallah that you could not see an elephant at that distance, let alone the speck of a vulture in the sky. Makallah stopped offering that particular explanation but was not able to offer any alternative.
Within a few days, after the discovery of Julie’s remains, he disappeared from the park. At first the official line was that he was “on leave”. But when weeks turned into months, the story changed. Makallah had been suspended. In fact, he never returned to his position of Senior Warden of the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
However, before he disappeared, Makallah wrote a report to the clerk of the Narok County Council, dated September 24, 1988. It claimed he was absent from the game park at the time of the murder and implied that Julie had committed suicide.
In an attempt to support this suggestion, he said Julie and her companion had been involved in an argument at Serena Lodge and she was upset. But documentary records show that Makallah was in the game park at the time of the murder.
His allegation of an argument was also untrue. This was subsequently confirmed by her companion, whose passport showed he had left Kenya and was actually in Rwanda at the time of Julie’s death.
In any case, medical and all other forensic evidence showed that Julie had been murdered.
In an attempt to prove he could not be responsible for driving Julie’s vehicle into the gully – thereby gaining knowledge of the vehicle’s contents – Makallah visited Kilgoris Police Station on September 16, 1989. He recorded a voluntary statement claiming that he could not drive a motor vehicle. He had never driven a motor vehicle. He did not know how to drive and did not possess a driving licence.
A copy of his statement is retained by British Police. Makallah’s statement was completely untrue.
Makallah’s driver, John Teeka, has said that Makallah often took over the driving. Makallah’s assistant warden, James Sindyo, gave evidence that he had often seen Makallah driving. Makallah had, in fact, driven me and Frank Ribeiro to Sand River Gate. The police discovered records of a motor accident involving a vehicle Makallah was driving.
After giving evidence on oath in court, again stating his inability to drive, Makallah was followed by a newspaper reporter. He watched Makallah take his vehicle from Kenya Wildlife Services headquarters and drive to his house. The reporter gave evidence the following morning about what he had seen. Nothing happened to Makallah as a result of his perjur
The secondhand clothes seller
Nonetheless, while the evidence against Makallah grew, information concerning Jonathan Moi’s involvement continued to emerge, suggesting a linkage between the two.
One afternoon, as I was waiting for transport outside Keekorok Lodge, I was furtively approached by a large lady, who pressed a tightly folded note into my hand. She sidled away. Opening it later, it read simply, “The man who killed your daughter is Jonathan Moi” There was also a post office box number for Mombasa.
Later, I contacted the lady and asked how she was able to make the allegation against Jonathan. She explained that she was a second-hand clothes dealer.
The lady regularly visited Masai Mara and surrounding villages, selling the second-hand clothes. She said local women, who were her customers, included the wives of park rangers. She said she had heard the allegations about Jonathan Moi everywhere in the park, but particularly in the villages near Sekanani Gate and Olaimutiek Gate. The latter gate and adjacent village are near the location Julie’s dismembered remains were found. The world famous Cottar’s Tourist Camp, then owned by the equally famous, Glen Cottar, is also in the same area.
I retained the folded note and passed it, with the information, to Scotland Yard.
Jonathan Moi’s farm
In early 1989, soon after Julie’s death, I received information that required a visit to Lolgorien. The route from Serena Lodge was via the 0101010 Gate, then climbing up the steep winding track onto the escarpment and from there towards the Lolgorien-Kilgoris main road. On the way, the vehicle passed many small farms and villages. At one point, a very impressive farm came into view. Whereas the local farms consisted of small huts, with thorn hedges, this property was modern and with good fencing. The crops were planted in neat rows and the whole complex was obviously well run and maintained.
Out of curiosity, I asked the Serena driver who owned the farm? “It belongs to Jonathan Moi, one of the President’s sons,” the driver replied.
About two years laters, I had reason to visit Kilgoris and once more, the driver took the same route from Serena Lodge. On passing the same farm, I noticed that it appeared to be nearly derelict. The previously neat fencing was sagging and damaged, and the place appeared to be deserted and generally in a state of disrepair. Uncertain whether it was the same farm I had seen, I inquired whether that was Jonathan Moi’s farm. The driver confirmed, adding: “He doesn’t come here anymore.” I asked: “Since when? “About two years,” the driver replied.
The Keekorok Lodge employee
A hand-written letter arrived in the UK from Kenya. There was no sender’s address.
The writer said that in September 1988, she was employed at Keekorok Lodge. She said in the late afternoon, she was standing by the petrol station, located under the entrance arch to Keekorok Lodge.
The lady said she had finished her work in the Lodge and was waiting for a lift, to take her to Sekanani Gate, where she lived in the village just outside the park.
The petrol station and the Keekorok entrance arch are directly opposite what used to be known as the Government Guest House. This is a separate building, containing three bedrooms, a lounge and private kitchen. In those days, Block Hotels Ltd owned Keekorok Lodge and the Government Guest House was kept exclusively for use by visiting Heads of State and VIPs etc.
The lady reported that as she stood waiting at the petrol station, she witnessed three men dragging a white woman from a Land Rover, into the Government Guest House. I passed the letter to British Police.
Valentine Uruhu Kodipo
The information provided by this informant is long, detailed and encompasses many crimes, allegedly committed on behalf of President Moi’s Government. In fact, Kodipo even admitted committing murder while he was employed by Moi.
Kodipo’s long statement included a segment on the murder of Julie Ward, who he alleged, was murdered on the instructions of Jonathan Moi, in the presence of others.
Kodipo had appeared before a Parliamentary inquiry, where he related many crimes he and his group had committed on behalf of Moi’s Government. He projected his role, as being similar to that of the Mungiki organisation, which still exists. Basically, he said he was a member of a group of young men, allegedly paid by President Moi, to attack, injure and even murder, Moi’s political enemies and to destroy their homes and property.
After his evidence to the Parliamentary Committee, Kodipo was placed in a so-called “safe house” where Moi’s men could not reach him. This was the home of a Kenyan businessman, where Kodipo occupied a small cottage in the garden.
One night, the main house was raided by Kenya’s Special Branch officers. He heard the shouting, noises and screams. He realised the main house was being raided. He ran into the nearby forest and escaped.
The following day, he contacted a well-known lawyer who arranged, with others, to move him to safety in Kampala, Uganda. Once there, Kodipo was placed under the protection of the United Nations. They put him in another “safe house” this time on the outskirts of Kampala. He was now under the protection and control of the UN High Commission for Refugees.
The UN decided it would be impossible for Kodipo to return to Kenya, while the Moi Government was still in power. They also considered that he was not beyond Moi’s reach, even in Uganda. The UN decided Kodipo would only be safe if he was given asylum by a country outside Africa.
The UN’s first choice was Canada. However, the Canadians declined on the grounds of Kodipo’s having admitted being one of Moi’s thugs and even a killer. The Canadians did not want to offer asylum to someone with Kodipo’s self-confessed violent record.
The UN then contacted the Danish Government, who, (perhaps without being told all the information concerning Kodipo’s past activities), agreed to grant him asylum. Two Danish government officials flew from Copenhagen and escorted Kodipo to Denmark.
At first he was placed in a hostel for refugees but was later provided with a house in a small Danish fishing village in northern Denmark.
In search of the truth and at Kodipo’s request, I visited Kodipo twice in Uganda and several times in Denmark. Kodipo always offered the same account of events concerning Julie and insisted that Jonathan Moi had given the instruction to kill her following a rape attack.
I did not entirely accept Kodipo’s story, partly because it seemed too improbable. However, greater authorities did believe his account of events. Representatives of the British Government in Kampala believed Kodipo’s story. So too, did the UN. The Danish Government totally believed Kodipo and do so to this day. These governments undertook their own investigations and assessments before accepting Kodipo’s story.
In the face of such a universal official government acceptance of Kodipo’s story, I wonder whether my personal doubts are misplaced. After all, Kodipo is not the only person who alleged that Jonathan Moi was responsible for Julie Ward’s murder.
A sighting in the Rickshaw Chinese Restaurant
An independent individual contacted the investigation team. He stated that just before Julie’s murder, he saw Julie and Jonathan Moi in the Rickshaw Restaurant in Nairobi. The Rickshaw restaurant has changed ownership and is now known as the Panda Restaurant. It is situated in an office building in central Nairobi. This is the first information that Julie Ward and Jonathan Moi had been seen together. This informant has been interviewed by officers from Scotland Yard.
The Wilson Airport baggage handler
I retained a private detective, Mr Bob Whitford, to assist in the investigation into Julie’s murder and represent my family in Kenya in my absence. Whitford had lived in Nairobi for many years and, before independence, he was a serving officer with Kenya Police. As such, he had developed many useful contacts and he had huge experience of Kenya Police and their methods.
Whitford was introduced to me (unofficially) by an official working at the British High Commission. (As a matter of policy, the BHC does not make ‘official’ recommendations about anything – in case they are held responsible for something)
Whitford was contacted by a baggage handler at Wilson Airport. The man said that he had seen Julie and Jonathan Moi arrive at Wilson Airport in a private aircraft, from the Masai Mara. The man said they had flown up to collect a motor vehicle part.
The man said that to prove what he said, he could produce the aircraft manifest showing the names. However, the document would have to be taken from a filing cabinet at Wilson Airport and he could only do this on a Saturday afternoon, after other staff had left for the weekend.
The man told Whitford he was willing to steal the manifest provided he was paid Sh2000 in advance for taking the risk. Whitford reported this conversation to me and asked for instructions.
I decided to decline the proposal. In the first place, at that time, the information concerning Jonathan Moi was still limited. Secondly, there was always the possibility of a “set up”. I did not want to be accused of ‘bank rolling’ a burglary.
I instructed Whitford to inform the man that if he were to bring me documentary information concerning Julie’s murder, I would pay him Sh5,000, provided it was genuine.
The man maintained he was not prepared to take the risk unless he had the money ‘up-front’. As nothing was agreed, nothing further was heard from the Wilson Airport baggage handler.
I instructed Whitford to inquire if such an individual actually existed and worked at Wilson Airport. As Whitford is white – and therefore ‘stands out’ amid the otherwise dark skinned population, sent his wife (a Kenyan lady).
Mrs Whitford said the man had been identified by another airport worker and reported that he seemed to be “energetic and was a small, dark brown.”
I wondered whether there was a link between this information and the other concerning the “sighting” of Jonathan Moi and Julie having lunch at the Rickshaw Restaurant. Could this lunch have taken place when they flew to Nairobi to collect a part for the broken down Suzuki, before flying back to the Masai Mara?
Neither the baggage handler’s account nor the Rickshaw restaurant sighting, fitted with other information. With the exception, that both involved Jonathan Moi.
The information provided by Mr X
In June 1999, Mr X visited the British High Commission and asked to put in contact with me. The High Commission refused but instead insisted the information should be given to them to pass it on. The man was naturally cautious and suspicious of the BHC.
The official at the BHC dealing with the matter was Rufus Drabble. His official business card described him as Press Attache. It is doubtful if that was his only role. The informant kept insisting on meeting me personally, but still the BHC refused. Finally, a meeting was arranged between the informant and Rufus Drabble, at the Serena Hotel. The informant waited – but Rufus Drabble did not turn up.
Apparently the nervous High Commissioner had instructed Drabble not to attend, in case he was observed by Kenyan officials, which would have caused embarrassment to the BHC.
Eventually, the informant contacted Drabble and told him, that if he did not arrange a meeting with me, he would contact me publicly at the High Court, where I was attending the trial of Simon ole Makallah. Such a public contact would put the man at risk, but in the absence of BHC cooperation, it was his only option.
The BHC realised they could not stop the informer from contacting me any more and, at last, Drabble passed the man’s details to me, three months later.
I met the informer at the Nairobi Safari Club. As with all people who offer information, I asked the man for identification and showed him my passport. Usually, informers are reluctant to produce proof of identity, always saying they fear reprisal from government if they are identified.
This informant was articulate and well dressed. He had no restraint confirming his identity.
The man said he used to work for Jonathan Moi and produced several photographs he took with Jonathan. He said that some of the photographs were taken at one of Jonathan Moi’s houses, in Lavington, Nairobi. Other photographs showed them alone and some with other men. A few were taken elsewhere. Clearly, the man knew Jonathan Moi well and the photographs showed they were relaxed in each other’s company.
The informer started his story with the bland statement that Jonathan Moi was responsible for Julie’s murder.
He said that on the September 6, 1988, Jonathan and his farm manager, together with two bodyguards and a driver, had left the farm. Jonathan’s group used a short wheelbase Landrover on their way to another farm belonging to Jonathan. Their route took them through the Masai Mara, using the 0101010 Gate to enter, and the Sekanani Gate to exit.
On the 6th September, Julie had left the Serena Lodge and would have travelled on the same road. (There is only one road). Her journey would eventually have taken her past Keekorok Lodge and then on to Sand River Gate.
The informer said Julie was taking photographs when Jonathan’s vehicle stopped. At first a joking conversation and banter took place. He said the banter turned nasty and the situation became aggressive. The informant said that Julie was raped by Jonathan Moi.
At this point, there was a gap in Mr X’s story. Specifically, as to what happened next and where Julie was taken. The informant’s story continued, that later in the day, believing that Julie would report Jonathan’s assault, he instructed his bodyguards to kill her.
The informant provided the names of the bodyguards and their locations. He also provided the name of the driver and the other witness to the rape, i.e. the farm manager. This man’s name was Ibrahim Choge.
Ibrahim Choge, (Farm Manager)
Mr X said Ibrahim Choge was a close friend of Jonathan. He said that he was not just the manager of Jonathan’s farms; Choge also acted as navigator in Jonathan’s Moi’s rally car.
In fact, at one time, such was the closeness of association between Jonathan and Ibrahim that Ibrahim married one of President Moi’s daughters.
Mr X reported a bizarre spin-off from this marriage. He said that President Moi had made Ibrabim’s father, a Mr Kiptum Choge, a Minister in the Department of Post and Telecommunications. Until that time, Mr. Kiptum Choge had owned a petrol station.
The informant said Jonathan and Ibrahim had contrasting personalities. Whereas Jonathan had the reputation of being the irresponsible rich playboy son of President Moi, Ibrahim was of a more serious nature.
As such, Ibrahim is said to have been appalled by the rape and murder in the game park, which he had allegedly tried to stop. Mr X said following the events in the Masai Mara, Ibrahim refused to be associated with Jonathan any more and resigned his position as farm manager. He also ceased his role as navigator in Jonathan’s rally car.
According to Mr X, in due course, Ibrahim bought his own rally car and from time to time happened to compete in the same motor rally as Jonathan Moi.
Mr X reported one incident, when an argument took place between Ibrahim and Jonathan. Allegedly, Ibrahim was heard to shout at Jonathan, in anger: “One day, I will blacken your name around the world for what you did to that girl in the Mara”.
Sometime later, while in the UK, I read Kenyan newspapers online and noticed an article about an inquest. There was also a photograph of the inquest court at the scene of a motor accident. Several high-ranking police officers were in attendance, one of whom I recognised. Reading on, I saw that the subject of the inquest was Ibrahim Choge.
The article stated that the authorities and the were insisting that Ibrahim had died as the result of a car accident. However, Ibrahim’s father, Mr Kiptum Choge (by then, a Minister of Post and Telecommunications) was claiming his son had been murdered.
I remembered the angry words allegedly shouted by Ibrahim at Jonathan.
Mr Kiptum Choge, Assistant Minister of Post and Telecommunications
On my next visit to Nairobi, I requested – and was granted – a meeting with Mr Kiptum Choge. He occupied a large office in a Government building in central Nairobi. Kiptum Choge was courteous but very curious.
I started by asking why the minister thought his son had been murdered. Kiptum said it was not a matter of opinion; it was a matter of fact. Kiptum said that in addition to the official post-mortem, he had commissioned a private post-mortem examination. This doctor reported that he had observed marks on Ibrahim’s wrists, consistent with the marks made by a rope or something similar.
Further, the doctor reported that on each side of Ibrahim’s body, there were three large bruises between the armpits and waist, which were consistent with blows from a heavy blunt instrument. He reported that one of these blows had ruptured the spleen, killing him.
Kiptum Choge said the doctor had verbally reported that, in his opinion, Ibrahim had probably been strung up by his wrists and hit with something like a baseball bat. He discovered a witness to the incident: a woman who had been walking along the same road. She told Kiptum Choge that she noticed a wooden log had been placed across the road. She had then seen a car approach round a bend (Ibrahim’s).
Seeing the log at the last minute, the driver had swerved, skidded and hit the log sideways. The car rolled over.
Kiptum Choge continued that the woman had seen the driver crawl out of the car, through the driver’s window. She noticed he had a cut on his nose. Otherwise, he appeared to be unhurt. She said that the man (Ibrahim) had reached back into the car and lifted out a briefcase. Kiptum Choge said the woman put down the bundle she was carrying and ran to assist.
However, as she drew closer, she saw three men (who had been hiding by the roadside), run out and grab the driver. The woman thought it was a robbery. Frigtened, she turned round and ran away. She told Kiptum Choge she did not see anything else.
Kiptum Choge said he knew his son had been murdered. He could not understand why the authorities and police were insisting Ibrahim’s death was an accident. At that stage, Kiptum said he had assumed it was a random robbery. However, he could not understand why Ibrahim had been beaten too.
Kiptum Choge said his inquiries had established that his son had driven from Nairobi that morning, with a briefcase containing the wages for his farm workers. After his men had been paid, Ibrahim went to a local bar to have a soda, before driving to his home. While in the bar, he had met some friends and told them that he had been followed from Nairobi by three men in a car. However, he said the car had disappeared.
Shortly afterwards Ibrahim left the bar to drive home. On the way the incident occurred.
I asked Kiptum Choge whether he knew of any motive, which could explain his son’s murder, or whether Ibrahim had any enemies? He said he had no idea.
I then asked whether Kiptum was aware of the murder of Julie Ward in the Masai Mara and the information that Ibrahim had been a witness to part of the crime. I repeated what Ibrahim had allegedly shouted at Jonathan. Minister Choge immediately became agitated. He assumed that this information proved that Ibrahim had been murdered. He said that he intended to go straight to President Moi and confront him. Minister Choge said that he would meet me again soon in London.
The circumstances of Ibrahim’s death suggested the intention was not to murder but to warn him against loose talk.
If the motive had been robbery, there would have been no point in beating up Ibrahim as well. The robbers would simply have stolen his valuables. Equally, if the motive of the attackers had been to murder him, they would simply shoot him.
Logic would decree that the beating was to deter and warn. Sadly, one of the blows ruptured Ibrahim’s spleen, thereby accidentally killing him.
I did not hear anything more from Kiptum Choge and, if he came to London, he did not make contact. Years later, as I was taking coffee at Trattoria restaurant in Nairobi, a man approached me and introduced himself as Kiptum Choge. No longer a minister in Moi’s Government, he wore a wind-cheater and baseball cap.
Choge looked sad and defeated. He said simply, “They killed my son: I don’t want them to kill me too.”
Dr Adel Youseff’ Shaker
In 1988, Dr Shaker was on a temporary visit to Kenya where he worked as the police pathologist. He was an intelligent and learned man, who also held degrees in law and dentistry.
On September 15, 1988, he examined Julie Ward’s remains that had been brought to the city mortuary in Nairobi. The remains consisted of a lower left leg and a jawbone, sliced in two.
Dr Shaker’s examination concluded that Julie Ward had been murdered. His post-mortem report stated that the leg had been cleanly cut from the body by a sharp instrument, as was the jawbone. Dr Shaker telephoned the British High Commission to inform them of his findings.
Dr Shaker also informed the two police officers attending the post-mortem examination. One of them, Inspector Anthony Mwaura (the same officer who was at the various scenes in the Masai Mara on the September 13) passed the information on to Police Commissioner Philip Kilonzo.
Police Commissioner Philip Kilonzo (1)
Although aware of the post-mortem findings, Kilonzo began making strange statements. He told the press that Julie had died from an animal attack and refused to open a murder investigation.
Kilonzo’s position became untenable almost at once. The media wanted to know why he refused to accept the murder angle and why he had not started investigation.
Kilonzo’s main problem was Dr Shaker’s post-mortem report, which was already known to me, the British High Commission and the media.
Dr Jason Kaviti
Kaviti was the Government’s Chief Medical Officer and also acted as the Chief Government Pathologist. Although not connected with the case, Kaviti left his office at Nairobi Hospital, visited the City Mortuary, and without examining Julie Ward’s remains, her file and ordered the typist to alter it.
The words cleanly cut were replaced with the “torn”. And the word “cracked” was substituted in relation to the jaw. “Sharp” instrument was altered to “blunt” instrument. The post-mortem report had changed to indicate an animal attack.
That raises the question as to who had sufficient authority to order Kenya’s Chief Government Doctor to do that. Only State House had. So, the second question is, Why on earth would President Moi be concerned about the murder of a young woman tourist in a game park?
Of course, one reason is that Jonathan is the President’s son.
Police Commissioner Kilonzo (2)
After several days, the BHC collected the post-mortem report from Kilonzo’s headquarters. Immediately, the alterations became apparent. At first Dr Shaker was blamed but he denied it and pointed to Dr Kaviti. Kaviti was confronted in his office at Nairobi Hospital, but could not think of any plausible excuse.
To alter another doctor’s post-mortem report, without permission or explanation, is unheard of in the medical world. Kaviti confessed but refused to say whose order he had obeyed.
Within a day (and to his huge embarrassment), the forged post-mortem was on Kilonzo’s desk, with me there demanding an explanation. Like Dr Kaviti, Kilonzo was at a loss: “a misunderstanding”, “an error”, and he “ would look into the matter”; “He would speak to both doctors,” etc.
I asked Kilonzo if he had, at last, ordered a murder investigation? He said he had not done so, because he was not convinced it was a murder.
In the next few weeks and months, I produced 10 separate reports, all concluding murder and foul play. These reports were from world-renowned eminent pathologists and forensic experts.
Two independent UK Home Office pathologists reported murder. I found deposits of petrol in the soil under the fire, where some of Julie’s remains and possessions had been burnt. It was analysed as Agip Petrol. Another report landed on Kilonzo’s desk. Do Kenyan wild animals carry cans of petrol around with them?
I discovered a forgery of Julie’s entry and signature at Sand River Camp ground. The forger was the clerk, David ole Nchoko.
A tress of Julie’s hair had been found at the scene of her remains. Forensic examination showed that it had been cut at both ends. Once on Julie’s last visit to a hairdresser – but the other, at the time of her murder.
Evidence of murder was overwhelming. Each time I presented Kilonzo with a new piece of evidence showing murder, I asked him to act. Kilonzo still refused to open a murder inquiry.
Kenya’s Commissioner of Police could give no explanation for his extraordinary position. In the end he could not take more embarrassment and refused further meetings with me.
Clearly, someone had ordered Kilonzo to sweep the murder under the carpet. This raises the question: Who had sufficient authority to order the Commissioner of Police to conceal a murder?
Such an order could only come from State House.
Director of CID Noah arap Too
Kilonzo’s orders were relayed to him by CID Director Noah arap Too. Arap Too was a close associate of President Moi. Kilonzo’s credibility was already in tatters and he wanted CID to take the responsibility.
Murder is not a matter for the uniform branch. Needless to say, Too was loath to accept the responsibility and preferred to use Kilonzo as a ‘buffer’. However, behind the scenes, Too was pulling the strings for State House.
Arap Too decided to send two CID officers to the Masai Mara – Supt. Muchuri Wanjau and a forensic officer, Musimi Rudisi.
After 10 days in the park, Wanjau reported back to Noah arap Too. What he told his boss caused Too to regret his decision.
Rudisi Musimi, Assistant Commisioner (Forensics).
This specialist forensic policeman (then a Supt.) was the protégée of another Ass. Commissioner, David Rowe. As with Supt Wanjau, he was appointed directly by CID Director, Noah arap Too.
Musimi spent a few days in the game park and produced a detailed forensic report that included sketches, with precise measurements and even showed the positions of dozens of trees. He also took many black and white photographs.
Musimi’s work was deliberately misleading. It was designed to make it appear that a thorough forensic examination of the various scenes and exhibits had been undertaken. In fact, it was false.
Musimi mentioned to me that he had consulted David Rowe during his forensic examination. Years later, David Rowe informed me that Rudisi had asked for his advice while the work was in progress.
Yet, the report was all lies. Measurements were incorrect and even taken in the wrong directions. Places where items were allegedly found were completely wrong. However, it appeared to be a professional forensic examination.
The first confirmation that Rudisi Musimi was just another corrupt policeman, occurred when he wrote about his examination of Julie’s Suzuki. The vehicle represented a potential treasure trove of forensic information. Fingerprints, DNA, blood samples, the debris contained in the vehicle; all of it would make a valuable contribution to expose the murderer and especially who had been in the vehicle.
Musimi’s report said he had examined the vehicle, but it had already been washed “inside and out”. Therefore, no forensic evidence was gathered from it and, he claimed, there were no fingerprints or other evidence. In fact, months later, when the vehicle had been moved from the Masai Mara to Nairobi and was parked at Wilson Airport, I examined it together with other witnesses and a lawyer.
The interior was littered with debris, which included a petrol receipt. It referred to a purchase of fuel made when Julie filled up in Narok. This was proof that Musimi was a liar.
It is not difficult to reach a conclusion about the reliability and truthfulness of these two corrupt individuals posing as honest and diligent police officers.
Why would these crooked officers go to so much trouble to concoct a large, detailed yet completely false report? Turns out, it was CID Director Noah arap Too (not Commissioner Kilonzo) who had secretly appointed Wanjau and Rudisi. Therefore, logic dictates they took their instructions from arap Too and reported to him.
Sen. Supt. Muchuri Wanjau (1)
Wanjau appears in the tragic events twice. The first time was during the original attempt to cover up the murder and 20 years later to “confess”. In September 1988, following their appointment by Noah arap Too, Wanjau and Musimi arrived in the park together. Wanjau was the senior of the two. They had a police Land Rover, a driver and from Rudisi’s photographs, they were accompanied by a group of supporting constables and park rangers. They visited the scenes. They went to Serena Lodge, where Julie started her last journey. For the first week, they acted like proper police officers.
After 10 days, Wanjau was instructed to report to Noah arap Too. What he told Noah arap Too, changed everything. Suddenly, Wanjau found that all his supporting constables were taken away and he was working alone. The Police Land Rover and his driver were withdrawn. Even Musimi had disappeared from the game park. Wanjau was left alone at Keekorok. He had been promised another vehicle and support constables. They never arrived. Without the ability to get around the game park and without any support, Wanjau was stranded.
He spent his days sitting and chatting with the park rangers at Keekorok. One day, I visited the park, arriving at midday and found Wanjau sleeping under a tree. Wanjau forlornly asked me if I knew where his Land Rover was. And, further, if I met the Commissioner in Nairobi, would I ask the Commissioner to send some transport. Apart from being abandoned, Wanjau had not been provided with accommodation. Accordingly, he checked into Keekorok Lodge and told the manager to send the account to Police Headquarters, for the attention of Commissioner Kilonzo. Kilonzo refused to authorise payment, so Keekorok Lodge sued Wanjau personally for the hotel bill. Wanjau had to pay.
Eventually, Wanjau returned to Nairobi and reported again to CID Director, Noah arap Too. It was a long meeting. Too instructed Wanjau to write a statement of his findings in the Masai Mara.
Dutifully Wanjau complied. The conclusion of his statement said: “…after intensive investigation into this death, no evidence of foul play came to light. If anything, the deceased committed suicide.” Signed: Wanjau M.C. April 6, 1989.
Wanjau was at the centre of the matter. He had been made aware of the 10 forensic and pathology reports provided to Kilonzo. He had visited the remote locations deep in the wilderness. He knew that it was impossible for Julie to have been to those places alone. He knew of the activities of Dr Kaviti. Wanjau knew the extent of the Kenyan (and British) cover-up. Yet, Wanjau reported suicide.
Was the British Government asleep?
The British Government was also doing absolutely nothing, except worry and wring their hands. The only activity came from the media and I. The media’s voice was loud and insistent. They knew the murder of Julie Ward was being covered up by the Kenyan Government. Pressure continued to build up for an inquest in order to legally establish the cause of death. The Government in the UK was becoming uneasy.
This proposal for an inquest had the support of Commissioner Kilonzo too. He saw it as a solution to the impossible predicament in which he had been placed by State House.
The Kenyan Government also believed an inquest would be the solution to their problem too. With supreme arrogance State House thought they could control the witnesses, control the evidence and, therefore, the verdict too. Their objective was to obtain a verdict of accidental death and rule out murder.
Once given, an inquest verdict is almost impossible to appeal, let alone overturn.
The man entrusted to orchestrate the inquest and marshal the witnesses was the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Alex Etyang. He set about gathering his witnesses and he held meetings in his office, to ensure that everyone told the same story.
(One of the witnesses subsequently supplied a copy of “the script” he had been given by Etyang, stating what the witness had to say in court while under oath!)This document is currently with British Police.
There were two main problems for Etyang. One, was the evidence of Dr Shaker, the police doctor, who had carried out the original post-mortem and declared murder. Somehow, he had to be persuaded to support the false alterations of the Chief Government Pathologist, Dr Jason Kaviti. The police were entrusted to ensure that Dr Shaker succumbed and complied.
The other problem was John Ward. He had amassed pathology and forensic evidence, which, if put before the Court, even the Chief Magistrate would find it impossible to ignore.
The Chief Magistrate, Joseph Mango — who, like Dr Kaviti, was another State House puppet — had been appointed to conduct the inquest. The Kenyan inquest into the death of Julie Ward, was held between August 9 and October 27, 1989.
State witness after State witness was called by Etyang and all dutifully recited their lines. Even Wanjau read his statement with his conclusion of suicide. His evidence was torn to shreds under cross-examination.
Supt. Rudisi Musimi read at length from his detailed – but completely false – forensic report. The Senior Government Scientist, a man called Sogomo, gave evidence about a pair of jeans he had examined, which he said was full of holes, caused by the teeth bites of hyenas.
Under cross-examination by my counsel, Byron Georgiadis, he was asked to produce the jeans to the court. Sogomo said he had not brought them. He was instructed to bring them in the afternoon. Later, when he re-appeared with a tiny piece of cloth, no bigger than a Kenyan 10 cent coin – and without any holes. Where was the rest of the garment? Sogomo replied that only that morning, his assistant had undertaken a flammability test and, unfortunately, the experiment had got out of control and the rest of the garment had been destroyed in the fire!
The court, packed with international journalists, erupted in uncontrolled laughter. Eventually, Sogomo admitted his original evidence was “mistaken.”
A young man called Paul Molinaro was called by Etyang. He woodenly recited that he had seen Julie leave the Sand River Camp Ground alive.
In spite of an attempt by the British Foreign Office to prevent me from providing the evidence of murder to the inquest court, several UK expert witnesses attended and gave evidence. Prof Austin Gresham, a world famous pathologist, took several minutes just to relate his impressive qualifications.
His evidence was detailed and concise. His conclusion was murder.
Finally, Gresham held up a large photograph of Julie’s severed leg. Gresham asked magistrate Mango, how the charring, clearly shown on the severed limb, could possibly be there, if the leg had not been cut from the body first? Mango balefully gazed back at Gresham but did not speak.
Next, Gresham showed the picture directly to Alex Etyang, acting for the State. Etyang declined to cross-examine Gresham’s evidence.
Nonetheless, Mango took three weeks to reach a verdict. One can only imagine the heated conversations that took place between Mango, Etyang, the Attorney General and State House. With dozens of international journalists waiting, State House surrendered.
On October 27, 1989, Mango’s verdict was murder by unknown person or persons. However, Mango continued that: he found no evidence of a cover-up; congratulated Kenya Police on their investigation; and would not refer the case to the Attorney General, as he considered that no further investigation should take place.
Mango must be unique in the world’s history of inquest magistrates. Having just come to a conclusion of murder, he then orders that no investigation to apprehend the perpetrators should take place!
For the next few months nothing happened and no investigation was commenced. State House had adopted a head- in-the-sand policy and simply hoped the Julie Ward case would simply ‘go away’.
Ex Sen. Supt. Muchuri Wanjau (2)
Twenty years later, in March 2009, I was contacted by ex Sen. Supt. Wanjau. I was staying at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi. At 10a.m. on March 31, 2009, Wanjau visited me. We talked two-and-a-half hours.
Wanjau told me that he thought he was seriously ill. He said he did not know exactly what was wrong but he had very bad pains in his lower abdomen and thought it might be something to do with his pelvis.
Other than tinted yellow eyes and slightly wincing with pain when he moved, he looked okay. Of course, he was older but he dressed smarter than when he was a policeman. Wanjau now sported a neatly trimmed beard.
Wanjau said that he wanted to tell me what he knew of the murder. At the use of that word “murder” I interrupted and asked Wanjau (if he knew it was murder) and why he had made his statement of the April 6,1989, suggesting suicide.
“I had to,” he replied.
Wanjau said that Noah arap Too had sent him and Rudisi Musimi to the game park, with instructions to ‘relax’, ‘go slow’ and ‘This is a priority for Moi”. He said they did not understand exactly what Too meant and they interpreted it to mean, “Be careful who you involve”.
Wanjau said after 10 days in the game park, he was ordered back to Nairobi to report to Noah Arap Too. During the first 10 days, Wanjau said he had not achieved a great deal, except to visit the various locations. He had also interviewed a number of people, rangers and police and had recorded a few statements.
Wanjau said he reported to Noah arap Too that, so far, he had identified four possible suspects. Wanjau said that he had interviewed a clerk at Sand River Camp Ground, who had forged Julie’s signature. Further, that there was a police officer, Karori, who Wanjau said had lied to him. Wanjau said he told Too that another ranger gave him cause for suspicion and also, the Senior Warden, Makallah, was involved.
From the interviews, Wanjau said he told Noah arap Too that his main suspect was Jonathan Moi. Wanjau asked how to proceed.
Wanjau said Too replied, “Look somewhere else.” Wanjau said he started to explain his reasons, concerning the information for suspecting the President’s son. Arap Too emphasised to him to “look somewhere.”
Wanjau said when he returned to the game park his support team had been withdrawn and he was left without transport. From then on, Wanjau said he could do nothing. Eventually, he was recalled to Nairobi and told to report to Noah arap Too. He was instructed to make a statement avoiding any mention of murder and pointing to some other conclusion.
Wanjau’s statement of April 6, 1989.
I asked Wanjau why he had agreed to lie by stating that no evidence of foul play had come to light and concluding that Julie had committed suicide? I asked about the 10 reports given to Kilonzo and him all showing murder. Did he really get away with such falsehoods?
Wanjau simply said: “I was instructed to write that statement by Noah arap Too.”
I asked about Simon ole Makallah, whose activities and lies had by then, led to him being charged with murder. Wanjau said, “It wasn’t him. He was told to get rid of the body, but he didn’t kill her.”
I asked, “Who did”?
Wanjau said: “I think it was Jonathan Moi’s bodyguards.”
Surprisingly, Wanjau said that he thought Kilonzo was a good man and that he felt sorry for him. He said Kilonzo did not know what was going on but he had to accept instructions from above.
I asked Wanjau if he knew anything about a man called Ibrahim Choge. Wanjau said, “Yes he was murdered but they tried to make it look like a car crash. Everyone in CID knows about Choge.”
I asked Wanjau if he knew a man called David Rowe. Wanjau replied that he knew him, because he used to be an assistant commissioner of police. Wanjau said Rowe did some training too, in forensics and scenes of crime.
I asked whether Wanjau knew if Rudisi Musimi knew David Rowe too? He said Musumi and Rowe worked together even on Julie’s case and wrote the Scenes of Crime Report.
They did this at CID headquarters, from notes taken in the park, he said. He added that Musumi and Rowe did not write that report until just before the inquest. “They might have gone down to the Mara then, I don’t know.”
Wanjau said “everyone knew the rumours” about the suscipicion of Jonathan Moi.
Wanjau said he had been transferred from CID headquarter and sent outside Nairobi. While he was there, he received a message that he had been sacked at only four days notice.
On leaving the police, he was asked to sign the Official Secrets Act form, but he refused.
This was not usual, but Wanjau said he would not sign it until he was paid his dues. Wanjau said that later, when he applied for a licence to become a private detective, his application was turned down. He said that in the end, he ‘found a way round the problem’ and obtained a licence.
Wanjau said that he wanted to meet me again and show me some papers on many people, including Shaker, Molinaro and ole Surgan, who was in the park.
I never saw Wanjau again. Although I telephoned Wanjau’s cell phone, there was no reply. I also wrote to Wanjau, but received no reply. Later, I was informed he had died.
The Julie Ward murder has attracted huge publicity and over the years there have been a number of inquiries. All of these have been conducted with restrictions imposed. Former Attorney General Amos Wako was responsible for the conditions placed on the investigators.
One such condition was that investigations could be conducted in the Masai Mara — but not in Nairobi. Nairobi was where the cover-up was orchestrated.
However, in a totally contradictory statement to the same investigating officers (but this time in the presence of the media) Wako grandly announced they had a free hand and that “no one was above the law in Kenya.”
In 1996, the various pieces of information concerning Jonathan Moi and Simon ole Makallah, were well known to Kenyan and British police. The Kenyan team had prepared a list of people to interview, and by January 1997, all but one had been interviewed and statements recorded.
The one remaining suspect was Jonathan Moi.
By then allegations had been made against Jonathan Moi by many people. Among them was the man Valentine Uhuru Kodipo. The investigating officers were reluctant to interview Jonathan Moi.
After dithering for many days, finally, the team leader telephoned Jonathan Moi’s office and asked for an interview. The meeting took place at 10.15a.m. on January 21, 1997, at Jonathan Moi’s office on the 8th floor of Corner House, Nairobi. Jonathan was accompanied by his lawyer and (causing acute consternation for the police team), Brig. Bill Boinet, the feared head of Kenya’s Security Services, was present too).
Although the team was in possession of many pieces of information that allegedly linked Moi to Julie’s murder, the only part they dared to disclose during the interview was the statement made by Valentine Ohuru Kodipo.
Kodipo’s statement had been lodged with Jonathan Moi, prior to the interview and he had prepared his statement before the team arrived.
In summary, Jonathan Moi said:
a) That he had read Kodipo’s statement.
b) That the allegations made against him were totally false.
c) That he considered the allegations intended to slander him.
d) That throughout September 1988 he was at his farm at Eldama Ravine.
e) That he had never been at the Masai Mara Game Reserve, but only at his farm at Narok. That he had heard of the missing tourist and the discovery of her remains in the Masai Mara, through the newspapers.
g) That he had heard of a place called Maela Lodge through the newspapers, but did not know where it was. (Note: Kodipo mentioned Maila Lodge and other people, in his statement).
h) That he did not know the men listed by Kodipo, such as Maritim, Nampaso, Okeda, Sacharia Bett, or even Kodipo.
i) That he did know Noah arap Too and Nicholas Biwott and ole Surtan, who worked for the Vice President.
j) That he was not in the company of any of these people in September 1988.
k) That he had nothing to do with the late Julie Ward.
l) That he did not keep a diary. However, he remembered that he was at Eldama Ravine during the alleged period.
m) That the allegation by Kodipo that we were drinking at Mara Serena Lodge is totally false.
n) That he did not drink alcohol.
The team asked no questions and accepted Jonathan Moi’s statement without comment and, with grateful thanks to the President’s son, they hurriedly left with a collective sigh of relief.
A copy of Jonathan Moi’s statement is with British Police.
The UK Inquest,
April 2004 (1)
In April 2004, the inquest into the death of Julie Ward was held at the County Hall in Ipswich Suffolk. The evidence concerning the Kenyan (and British) cover-up became public knowledge. By this date, Moi had finally been ousted from power and Kibaki was president.
Among his reforms, Kibaki had created a Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The new Minister was Mr Kiraitu Murungi. The evidence given at the inquest made headlines throughout the world, but especially in the UK and Kenya. The First Secretary of the Kenyan High Commission in London was sent to sit in the Ipswich Court throughout the hearing and take notes.
As the damning evidence about the cover-up could not be denied, the Kenyan Government decided to embark on “damage limitation.” Basically, this involved admitting everything that had occurred in the past, under Moi, while claiming that since Kibaki came to power, everything had changed. Further, that from then on, the new government of Kenya would cooperate and work until the perpetrators of the crime were brought to justice.
On the third day of the UK inquest, when the evidence against Kenya (and the British Government) was at its most damning, the Kenyan First Secretary asked the Coroner (Magistrate) if he could be allowed to enter a statement into the proceedings. The statement was provided by Kenya’s Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Kiraitu Murungi.
In summary, the statement said:
Original article appeared on Nairobi Law Monthly but may not inaccessible .