Kenya: Probe Into Murder of Dutch Tycoon Extends to Three Towns

Investigations into the gruesome murder of Dutch tycoon Herman Rouwenhorst have extended to Bungoma, Kisumu and Kitale, where more than Sh3 million stolen from the foreigner is believed to have been invested.

Documents filed by detectives from the homicide unit show that monies in Kenyan and foreign currencies may have found their way to different parts of the country, where the suspects fled to after killing the foreigner.

Evidence gathered so far indicates that the foreigner's widow, Riziki Cherono Ali, hired assassins to eliminate the Dutchman.

The evidence shows that Ms Mercy Nasimiyu Masika and Mr Timothy Omondi Ngowe, alias Kelvin Omondi, were among the assassins hired to carry out the dirty job for the woman.

Ms Masika is said to have been in constant communication with the prime suspects before, during and after Rouwenhorst's murder.

In court on Monday, detectives said that immediately after the incident, the two suspects travelled upcountry, where it is suspected they disposed of the proceeds of crime.

They gave several reasons in their application to detain the suspects longer, to allow a further probe.

"We need time to extract data containing the details of the communications between Ms Masika and the prime suspects. These details will help us identify the other culprits in this matter," detective Reuben Mwaniki told a Shanzu court.

A watchman named Evans Bambo Bokolo was also killed in the incident in June, in which the Dutchman was allegedly kidnapped and then murdered.

Newly acquired property

The two suspects, who are believed to be couple, were arrested on Friday at their hideout in Florida village, Kiembeni, where they were living in a newly constructed mansion on a newly acquired piece of land.

They were apprehended based on information that Ms Cherono shared with the police.

"Inside the house, newly purchased items such as a refrigerator, television, a television stand, radio system, a solar system were recovered," Mr Mwaniki told the court.

The detectives also recovered a purchase of land agreement, and are looking for the seller of the property in order to record a statement from him.

"More evidence related to land transactions acquired by the two is yet to be recovered. The transactions only came to our attention on the day we arrested the suspects, and we require time to trace, summon and record statements from the parties involved."

Detectives further confiscated from the suspects receipts for a recent purchase of construction materials. The statements of the proprietors of the hardware store where the items were purchased are yet to be recorded, Mr Mwaniki told the court.

Police also recovered items from retail outlets, which they will visit to check the authenticity of purchases.

No tampering

The deceased's residence is located in a controlled access compound backed by a stoned perimeter wall reinforced with an electric fence and Texas alarm system.

So far, investigations show there was no evidence of tampering with the security system in the compound and the main house.

Police further say that the safe containing the stolen millions had been mounted on the wall.

"The safe was broken into and some valuables and unknown money in Kenyan and foreign currencies stolen," said Mr Mwaniki.

Detectives are also tracking a mobile phone with two sim cards, and a play station, which were stolen from the deceased house.

Extensive travel

After committing the offence, detectives said, Ms Masika moved from her known residential area to an unknown location. The detectives intend to visit the places the woman escaped to in a bid to make more recoveries.

"Ms Masika is believed to have benefited from the proceeds of money allegedly stolen from the scene. We need to move with her to Kitale, Bungoma and other parts of the country, where the money might have been invested."

The court also heard that witnesses in this case are said to be scattered in Mombasa, Kisumu, Kitale and Nairobi.

The detectives also noted that Mr Omondi is believed to have been involved in other crimes within Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu and Eldoret, and that they require further identification of the victims, hence the need to travel to those locations.

Police will also compare samples taken from the suspects with exhibits recovered from their house and the scene.

The suspects' fingerprints will also be taken and they will also be escorted to the hospital for psychiatric assessments.

Also found at Florida village were a pair of shoes, which had blood stains. The items, the detectives say, require further analysis by the government chemist.

In addition, police say Mr Omondi took murder weapons from the crime scene, which are yet to be recovered.

The court allowed police to detain the suspects for 21 days to carry out further investigations.

Mr Omondi will be held at Bamburi police station while Ms Masika will cool her heels at Nyali police station.

They will appear in court on August 23.

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