NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Every time children at Vila Franca’s Twiga Court within Imara Daima saw Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei coming home, they would run after him and fondly call him ‘Uncle Kip’.
It was no secret that he was a police officer, though not many knew he was based at Harambee House Annex, the Office of Deputy President.
But that did not act as a barrier between the Administration Police officer and the children or any other person within Twiga Court.
“He was a jovial guy,” Peter Amunga, the Nyumba Kumi, a 10-member community policing group, Chairperson told Capital FM News. “He would join us during estate parties or simply contribute to our WhatsApp group.”
One of the neighbours, a lady who sought anonymity had kind words for the 33-year-old, the late Kenei: “He was just like my husband. Very calm and likable.”
Before he sold his car, Sergeant Kenei used to park outside House No. 8, the place he called home for 6 months.
He was the go-to person every time a resident’s car engine failed in the morning due to a low battery.
“He would help anyone to jumpstart the engine,” another resident said.
The compound has a bungalow where the owner lives while Kenei had rented the extension, commonly referred to as a servant quarter.
A spot check by Capital FM News established that the estate has no CCTV cameras fitted on the perimeter wall or at the gate.
In between houses, there is a perimeter wall, in an area where the environment is largely calm save for the noise emanating from children playing – more so now that they are in mid-term holiday.
Kenei’s body was discovered at 2 pm on Thursday, with a gunshot wound in the head.
But was it a case of suicide?
His father John Chesang has dismissed the claim and asked government to probe the incident, to establish who killed his son.
“We want satisfactory feedback not claims that he committed suicide,” Chesang said. He last saw his son on February 15.
On Friday, homicide detectives were hoping to find the answer to tens of questions, after combing through the house.
Detectives retrieved a spent cartridge. A bullet mark could been seen on the ceiling.
Kenei had a Jericho pistol, which was found with 11 rounds of ammunition.
“There is overwhelming evidence that he could have committed suicide but there are emerging issues that we cannot ignore,” a detective privy to ongoing investigations told Capital FM News.
The officer’s body was found lying on the floor, just near the door, with a visible gunshot wound on his chin. It bullet exited through the upper part of his head.
His bed, according to residents who accessed the scene way before officers from Embakasi Police Station arrived, was neatly spread.
“Everything was in place,” Amunga, the Nyumba Kumi Chairperson, said.
A junior police officer who was at the scene before the body was initially moved and later returned said: “there was no evidence of a struggle in the room.”
But the big question is, how come no one heard a gunshot sound?
“I did not hear anything. I only saw in the news that someone had died in our estate,” an immediate neighbour, who did not provide her name, said.
And according to the Nyumba Kumi Chairperson, no resident heard a gunshot sound or commotion.
“We had a security meeting last evening (Thursday night) and funny enough, no one seemed to know anything,” Amunga said on Friday.
But Kenei is not your ordinary cop and that is why Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti visited the scene of the crime on Thursday night.
On Friday, he sent another team to dust for anything that could help them know the truth – whether Kenei was killed, by who, over what or if he committed suicide.
Interestingly, a witness said, a note was found beside his body, a fact captured in a police incident report.
“Call my cousin Ben ***, Brother ***,” reads the note that had his cousin and brother’s phone numbers.
It is among the samples retrieved from the house and is set to undergo examination.
Kenei was one of the Administration Police officers on duty at Deputy President William Ruto’s Harambee House Annex office last week when former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and two foreigners visited.
He was meant to record a statement with the DCI but did not report to work on Wednesday.
The other five officers were questioned on Tuesday at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations over Echesa’s Sh39 billion fake military equipment tender scandal, but the slain officer did not show up.
Echesa is said to have duped a foreigner Sh11.5 million with the promise to have the tender for supply of military equipment awarded to them.
On learning of the officers’s death, Deputy President William Ruto in a tweet said he was deeply saddened, saying “Kenei was a disciplined young police officer. I urge the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain the circumstances surrounding his death.”
The officer’s death now forms part of the wider investigations by the DCI, who has already charged Echesa and three other men, said to be his business associates for obtaining Sh11.5 million from a Polish firm in the pretext that they will help it win a military equipment supply tender.
They all denied a total of 12 charges and were freed on bond.
While the two foreigners said they were given tender documents signed by military or procurement officials at the Department of Defence, the Military Headquarters dismissed them as fake because all the signatures were forged.
The DCI is investigating how Echesa and his associates managed to enter the DP’s office with two foreigners in the scandal, and whether anyone in the high office was involved in the con-game.
Echesa and the two foreigners spent at least 23 minutes inside Harambee House Annex.
Is Kenei’s death linked to the case?