Fresh details have revealed a series of costly police blunders and missed leads that, either by design or default, have complicated investigations into the murder of Jacob Juma. Two weeks after the businessman was buried, a KTN investigation team managed to track down witnesses and get hold of crucial leads that suggest that he was killed elsewhere and his body dumped at the scene where it was discovered.
At the centre of the new revelations are crucial witness accounts, including that of a woman seen in Juma’s car hours before he died, a taxi driver who picked her up from Sarit Centre in Westlands and a guard at a construction site along Ngong Road, a few metres from where Juma’s car and body were discovered.
Although the woman claims to have been dropped by Juma at Trattoria restaurant on the night he died, camera evidence of this moment is non-existent, putting a dent on a crucial lead that could have helped police trace the businessman’s last moments. It is not clear why the seven cameras around Trattoria restaurant did not capture Juma dropping her off in his Mercedes (reg. no. KAL 007W), yet the same cameras capture the woman in the businessman’s car along Waiyaki Way.
“Not all cameras are working in town for various reasons,” CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro told KTN, responding to a question on why CCTV cameras were not working on the day Juma was killed.
The morning after Juma’s body was discovered, the woman expressed fear for her life telling the taxi driver who had picked her the previous day that she too could be “finished”. “He (Juma) had told me that his vehicle is bullet proof… are you sure he has been killed?” asks the woman in the telephone conversation exclusively obtained by the KTN Lead and Jicho Pevu programmes.
“I’m lucky I might have been killed with him,” she said before the taxi driver asks her to co-operate with investigators. “Just tell them what you know. I believe they will also ask me questions as I was among the last people to be seen with him,” says the taxi driver, who it is clear from the conversation knew Juma well. When he insists on being told what time the woman was dropped at Trattoria, she responds: “Why are you confirming when I left him in town? Are you also an investigator?”
The businessman was killed on May 5 in what police initially said was the work of the gunmen on motorbikes, who waylaid him, forced his car off the road, crushed the car windows and pumped bullets into his body. His killing however sparked a series of condemnation from among others Opposition leaders, who claimed the businessman was killed by State agents working at the behest of powerful individuals.
They claimed he was assassinated due to his knowledge of the Eurobond affair in which billions of shillings are claimed to have been stolen. Apart from Juma’s killers, the two witnesses were among the last people to meet him on the day he died. Events thereafter remain hazy and contradictory. According to the police, the first witnesses on the scene reported the incident to an administration police officer at the nearby China Road and Bridge Construction Company.
But guards at the site have now discounted this version of events, revealing that there was no policeman at the construction site that night. They have also denied hearing any gunshots despite Juma’s car having seven gunshot marks. “We were alone on the night…there was no policeman…What we heard was some kind of noise similar to a vehicle jumping a bump. There were no gun shots,” said the witness, whose version now casts doubt on the theory that bullets were pumped into Juma’s body at the scene where it was found.
Interestingly, the businessman’s body was booked at the city mortuary six hours after it was recovered by police. It is not clear what the police were doing with the body and who placed a gauze around his neck and hand. The equipment is normally used for medical purposes to prevent blood loss.
The investigations also revealed that Juma’s killers went through his phone messages after they killed him. It is not clear what his killers were doing with his phone and what they were looking for. One hour before his killing, Juma, according to the investigations, called a friend to inform him that he had secured an appointment with a foreign envoy to brief him on Eurobond dossier. He was also meant to text the envoy details of the dossier. Opposite direction
According to the family friend, Juma told him that he was at his apartment when he made the 8.20pm call. Interestingly, it was around this time that he was supposed to be dropping the woman friend at the CBD, again raising questions on Juma’s whereabouts between the time he was supposed to have left his apartment at 7.45pm and 9.30pm, the time police say he was killed. The woman claimed she was dropped in the CBD five minutes after they left the Rosa apartments.
According to the CID, Juma’s car was captured along Argwings Kodhek Road coming from Yaya Centre towards Ole Dume Road at 8.14pm. The account is however disputed by KTN investigations which show that the car was at that time headed in the opposite direction towards Yaya Centre. It was around this time that Juma was killed, and the crucial CCTV footage around this time is missing.
Despite police statements that not all cameras in the city work, cameras along the Yaya Centre junction and Ole Dume road, where Juma’s car is said to have passed on the night he died were working 30 minutes before his car passed on the same road.