08:00 am Saturday 15th June
Commander Ruby Mwekundu Regional Crime Squad arrived at Police HQ to find an extremely upset Woolie Kondoo waiting for her at the reception desk. He stood up when he saw her and said ‘Finally, you’re here. How dare you send your storm troopers to arrest my Babu you evil witch! You only had to ask him to come back to the station. Nobody here seems to know where Babu is. Tell me, where are you holding him?’
Ruby stopped in her tracks totally taken aback by Woolie’s aggression. ‘What do you mean, Kondoo? Babu is at home. I dropped him off myself, yesterday.’ Woolie looked at her and shook his head slowly. He said, in a softer tone, ‘They came for him in the night. The neighbour told me armed police came in 3 Land Rovers. Are you telling me you had no idea?’
Just then Ruby’s mobile vibrated with an incoming message. It was from her boss, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and read, ‘Retired Chief Inspector Babu has been arrested in connection with 2 murders in a Westlands hotel last week. Commander Mwakundu I expect you to do your job and have the necessary evidence ready to have him charged within 48 hours.’ Ruby took a deep breath ‘Damn it! ‘My idiot boss is using Babu to get at me. He knows Babu did not commit these crimes.’ Woolie looked at her and said, ‘So what are we going to do, Ruby?’ he asked.
Ruby was already walking across the foyer. She said to Woolie, ‘Quick, first we go to my office. We’ve got to find out where they are holding Babu and get him out of this mess.’
They went went up in the lift to Ruby’s 14th floor office.
When Woolie was seated Ruby gave him a summary of the events of the past week. Then she said, ‘I’ll make some calls, find out exactly where they are holding him so that you can go and see him and reassure him. Trust me Kondoo, all will be well.’
On her second call Ruby was able to establish that Babu was being held at Muthangari Police Station on the James Gichuru Road. The OCPD was a good friend and he assured Ruby that Babu was sitting quite comfortably in an office at the station.
Ruby relaxed a little. She was quiet for a moment then said, ‘ Woolie, first we need to look at the facts as we see them. There is no question that the two items that Babu brought in on Monday were used in the murders of those poor victims. The forensic lab people have matched fibres from the nylon stockings to fibres found on Anindo Opondo’s neck. They also obtained DNA from her mucus on the stockings. The blood on the knife is an identical match to that of Ed Malu, the waiter. We urgently need to establish how Babu came to be in possession of these two items. My detective interviewed Babu yesterday with a degree of difficulty.’
Woolie said, ‘Babu has been taking medication for his enlarged liver condition. One of the side effects is short-term memory loss. He can remember stuff from the past but doesn’t seem to recall what he had for dinner the night before.’
Ruby listened carefully before she replied, ‘I wondered why he wouldn’t give his name at the desk.’ Anyway my detective was able to establish that Babu was at his farm in Mosoriot on Sunday morning, preparing to drive back home here in South B. His wife had given him a new LED torch to keep in the car in case of emergency. When he opened the glove-box to stow it away he found a loose bag with the bloody knife tightly wrapped in the black nylon stockings. The detective sent officers from a nearby Police station to check with Mrs Babu at the farm and she corroborated this account.
Ruby had paused to look at her notes and Woolie said, ‘But that is most ridiculous. Mosoriot is 320 km away how did these items get to be in Babu’s van? Wait….’ Woolie was scratching the top of his head where the hair was fast disappearing. He said, ‘Babu is a creature of habit. He always takes the van in for a service before embarking on a road trip to the shamba. Oil change, tyres check, radiator, brakes, lights, that sort of thing. Ruby was looking at him, unable to hide her sudden excitement. She asked, ‘Do you know where he has his van serviced?’ Woolie smiled and said, ‘Yeah, the Dogar Metro Garage at the corner of Junction Road.’
Ruby and Woolie drove up to the corner of Junction Road, past M&J Wedding Supplies and found the garage. Mr Dogar, the boss at Dogar Metro Garage was an affable man who sported a turban and a very wide moustache. He was extremely cooperative and answered their questions without hesitation or deviation. Yes, Mr Babu was a long-standing customer. Yes, he had brought his car in for a service on Tuesday morning, saying that he was to go on safari the following day. This was quite normal with Mr Babu. The mechanic who had service the van was Eric Muli a conscientious young man with a keen eye for detail. Eric was summoned to the office and gave a positive account of the work that he had carried out. He had changed the oil, adjusted the brakes and topped up the coolant in the radiator. The van was in tip top condition. Once completed he had taken the van round to be valeted prior to release.
As they spoke a BMW X5 with tinted windows pulled slowly into the garage forecourt. It eased its way down to the car wash end of the yard where valets with sponges and squigees waited. In Dogar’s office, they looked through the large window and waited, keen to see who would emerge from the large vehicle.
Oh, I see who it is,’ said Dogar, smiling. ‘It’s Senator Kibiwot’s wife. Another frequent customer. The lady has so many cars.’ As they watched, Mrs Kibiwot called to one of the valets and he went to the car. She got back into the car and brought out her hand bag. All the while she was talking to the valet. The watchers were not able to see exactly what it was that Mrs Kibiwot handed over to the valet. Mr Dogar was not smiling now and he said this was most irregular. The normal practice was that all payments for work done at the garage were made at the reception.