- A statement posted on social media by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said Owuor was gunned down during a shootout with police.
- Mr Ombeta claimed that detectives from the DCI dragged an unarmed Oduor out of a barber shop and shot him dead.
Ask any resident of Obama Estate in Kayole, Nairobi, if they knew Wycliffe Vincent Owuor and they will tell you that he was an undercover police officer.
In fact, after last year’s Nairobi West ATM heist that saw Sh72 million stolen a police report sent to their headquarters identified him as a “Police Constable attached Kayole Police Station.”
The reason Mr Owuor passed himself off as a detective is because he was always in the company of police officers.
Residents we spoke to said he was always armed, had handcuffs and would even arrest people and take them for detention at the station.
FIVE POLICE OFFICERS
He had never hit the headlines until after the Standard Chartered Bank, Nairobi West branch, ATM heist when he was arrested together with five police officers, two Kenya Defence Forces soldiers and several security guards attached to G4S.
He was charged over the same and released on a Sh1 million bond until March 24 when he was shot dead in Kayole.
A statement posted on social media by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said Owuor was gunned down during a shootout with police.
“Armed with pistols and riding on a motorbike, the three started robbing members of public at Kayole Junction,” the DCI statement read.
But a statement by his lawyer Cliff Ombeta triggered suspicion over the circumstances under which he died and elicited the interest of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa), human rights groups and the media.
Mr Ombeta shared a clip on Twitter in which three police officers confront a man and a gunshot is heard.
Mr Ombeta claimed that detectives from the DCI dragged an unarmed Oduor out of a barber shop and shot him dead.
Obama Estate residents told the Nation that he was killed by a single bullet, contradicting the police report of a shootout. They also said that there was no robbery reported that day in the area, contrary claims that he was in the company of two others who escaped on a motorcycle.
“Officers came with him in a Toyota Probox car. They got out of the vehicle and started pulling and pushing him. He ran away and entered a barber shop but the officers pulled him out, dragged went behind the building and then we heard a gunshot,” a businessman said.
An administration police officer attached to a Kayole station said that Owuor was a close friend of some officers and that they used him as an errand boy after his brother was killed by officers based at the same station.
“He was initially their informer, a snitch. He was very well connected. Later, after the robbery in Nairobi West, the officers asked him to leave Kayole and he went to live in Juja together with his wife and child. He started a pub business there,” the businessman said.
Mr Ombeta vowed to follow-up on the case until the truth behind his killing is unravelled.
He said that Mr Wilson Kosgei, the Kayole Police Station boss, denied him and a team of Ipoa officials access to the occurrence book where the incident was recorded.
The Daily Nation has however learnt that the incident was booked under OB number 47/24/03/2020. It was reported that an unidentified suspect had been shot.
Later, the entry was amended to read that the “fatally shot suspect” was one Oduor (not Owuor) who had been behind the Sh72 million heist.
The Nation has also learnt that a senior police officer based at the same station has been driving the crimson-red Subaru Forester car registration number KCB 649Z- which was seized from Owuor after the ATM heist. Initially, the vehicle was packed at Lang’ata Police Station.
It is an exhibit, believed to have been bought using proceeds of theft. When police tracked down Owuor to Seko village in Kendu Bay, Homa Bay County, Sh3 million was found on him.
After last Tuesday’s shooting the DCI ordered that Kayole Police Station officers be investigated.
Apart from Owuor’s shooting, detectives have renewed investigations into last October’s shooting of two officers attached to the station. The officers; Joel Chesire and Albert Abeere, were allegedly waylaid by of thugs who shot them dead and stole their official rifles. A resident said that she saw two groups argue for a while before five gunshots were fired.
Tuesday, Mr Ombeta said that Mr Kosgei had allowed him and POA to access the OB.
“We will also pursue the deceased’s phone records to find out who communicated with him and when because we understand that he was lured into the officers’ hands by a caller,” he said.
Several witnesses have been lined up for interrogation. Investigators are keen on finding out who the caller was.
They also want to know how he was shot in the chest at close range if indeed he was trying to escape.
Where is the gun the suspect used in the purported shootout?
Attempts to interview Mr Kosgei were futile as he refused to speak to the media on the matter.
Mr Ombeta said that before he was killed, Owuor planned to give him information on the Nairobi West ATM heist.
“He was killed in cold blood, I believe the leadership of Kayole Police Station has several questions to answer,” he said. A source at the police station said that after Owuor’s shooting three officers accused of killing him were asked to stay out of work for a while.
“There was a blame-game, those in the meeting started strategising on how to raid several electronic shops they claimed Owuor sold stolen electronics. Of course they were planning a cover-up and how to justify his killing,” an officer who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter said.
Kayole Police Station has been notorious for extrajudicial killings. The station is under investigation after three suspects died in custody on different dates last year.
One of the victims, Daniel Wang’ombe, died on December 19 under unclear circumstances. Another victim, Magdaline Ombango, was arrested for trespass and died after allegedly collapsing inside a cell. Last year, two officers from the same station were arrested for allegedly robbing an Eastleigh businessman of Sh6 million.
One of the officers, Simon Mwaniki Festus, 34, was charged at the Makadara Law Courts with the robbery.
He was also charged with robbery for allegedly being part of a gang that stole Sh2.7 million from one Wuwei Dun, an investor in gambling machines.
Dun alleged that he was headed to Nakuru with two of his staff, Janet Cheptoo and Ezra Kipng’eno, when a car carrying four armed officers in plain clothes intercepted them and stole the money.