A prominent Nyeri businessman accused of hiring hitmen to kill his biological son will remain in custody for five more weeks alongside four others pending a ruling on their bond application at the High court in Nyeri.
Justice Florence Muchemi set the ruling date for April 20 thus prolonging the stay of the five accused being separately held in various places after pleading not guilty to murder charges on March 2.
Stephen Kinini Wang’ondu and his accomplices including his driver James Mahinda, Eddy Kariuki, Raphael Wachira and Geoffrey Warutumo are accused of murdering 32-year-old Daniel Mwangi who is the son of the first accused on the night of December 30, 2020 in Mwiyogo village in Kieni West Sub-county in Nyeri.
The 74-year-old businessman is said to have orchestrated the gruesome murder of his son following a family dispute where he allegedly paid the assassins 160,000 shillings.
During Tuesday’s session where the defense team and the prosecution were making their submission on bail application, the businessman was not present in court as he had been put under 14 days’ mandatory quarantine at King’ong’o GK Prison after contracting Covid-19.
Prosecutor Daniel Ondimu told the court that he had received a letter from the correctional facility indicating that the suspect had contracted the virus though details on his Covid-19 status were not stated.
The defense team for the accused applied to have their clients released on reasonable bond terms, noting that none of them was a flight risk while at the same time arguing that they were innocent unless otherwise proven by the court.
The application was however opposed by the prosecution citing the seriousness of the case, possible interference with witnesses and possibility of absconding once they were freed on bail.
The prosecution argued that they had gathered incriminating evidence against the businessman who could have planned the murder of his son for his selfish interest including a 2.5 million shillings insurance claim.
An affidavit filed by investigating Officer Joyce Maluki has pointed out insurance fraud as a possible area of the ongoing investigations.
The officer in her affidavit said the accused on January 25 filed a report on personal accident form with ICEA Lion General Insurance Company in relation to the deceased.
The family of the businessman including his wife and three of their children namely Chrispin Kinini, Matha Nyawira and Rosemary Wmuciii as well as the deceased’s estranged wife Scolastica Wachuka sought to be enjoined in the case as interested parties.