Woolie and Commander Ruby watched from Dogar’s office as several valets attended to Nancy Kibiwott’s car. Nancy herself was sitting in a white plastic garden chair in the shade a few yards away. She seemed to be enjoying the young men’s banter as they worked.
A moment later the young man to whom she had spoken earlier returned from the direction of the workshop carrying a container about the size of a regular tin of paint. He placed it in the boot of the car and gave Nancy the thumbs up. Soon after the car was ready. Nancy Kibiwott went to the reception and paid for the car-wash. She waved happily to the guys as she drove off.
Commander Ruby turned to Eric Muli and asked, “Eric, that guy who was acting so dodgy…was it he that cleaned Mr Babu’s van after you had serviced it?’ Eric simply nodded.
“His name is William Josho, a very hard-worker”, said the helpful Mr Dogar,
With that the Commander stood up and thanked Mr Dogar. She gave him her card asking him to call her if he came across any further information regarding this matter. Back in the car Ruby explained to Woolie that she had arranged for Josho to be taken in for questioning. It was possible that he could shed some light into how the murder weapons had come to be in Babu’s van
Back at Police HQ Ruby Mwekundu paced up and down in the incident room, glancing at her watch. It was not like Nowa, her young detective sergeant, to be late. And why had he not telephoned? They were running out of time. Her boss, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner had told her that they had enough evidence to charge Babu with the two murders. Had he not walked into the Station and virtually confessed to the killings? Ruby knew that their attempts to find the real killers and save Babu would be in vain, once he was charged. She knew the way the system worked. The case would grow cold and the real killers would evade justice. A further disturbing thought occurred to her: how would Babu, a retired policeman, cope in a remand prison?
There was a knock on the door and Detective Sergeant Nowa Indania walked in accompanied by a uniformed Police Constable who held a brown manilla folder under her arm.
“Sorry I’m a bit late boss.” said Nowa taking off his jacket and throwing it over a chair.
Ruby nodded, acknowledging the young lady’s salute. Nowa continued, “Judy Wanjiku is off-duty today but she is doing her bit to help set Babu free. We’ve just come from watching Youtube videos at her flat.”
“Really?” Said Ruby, raising an eyebrow.
“Really.” Nowa replied. “But not like that. Why don’t you explain it to the Commander, Judy?”
“Well madam, it all started with the…”
“Wait”…Ruby interrupted, “In my incident room I prefer that we are all on easy terms. It gives the sense of teamwork that is so vital in cases such as these. Please call me Ruby or if you must, boss. We don’t do madam and sir here. I really appreciate what you are doing for Detective Chief Inspector Babu in your free time,Judy. Now, please continue.”
PC Judy Wanjiku explained how she and a colleague had collected witness statements from two dozen or so guests who had attended the dinner and dance at the Everest on Tuesday 11th of June. The interviews had been carried out on Wednesday and Thursday. Two of the guests had uploaded their videos online and once it was known that poor Anindo had died more videos of the evening were being uploaded.
The videos had not revealed any suspicious looking persons or activity but this being youtube Judy had also clicked on the ‘You May Also Like’ links. It was whilst scrolling through loads of related videos that she had stumbled upon Anindo’s last recorded interview.
DS Indania got the laptop ready to play the video. They sat and watched as Anindo Opondo was interviewed by the famous presenter Larry. It was a good interview in which Anindo admitted that her story was totally biographical, based on actual events that had taken place in her life.
The mood got colder and darker when Larry the show host had asked “You say that it has been your life’s quest to find your parents’ killers. What have you done about that?”
Anindo had answered immediately, “In writing this story I have done a lot of research over the years. I have finally identified the killer and I will use my book to expose them.”
There was another video recording. This one showed a supposedly private conversation between Anindo Opondo and her publishing agent. They were discussing the possibility of airing a special prime time final episode with a plot that involved revealing the real identity of the killer, live on national TV. They had concluded that a Monday evening would be ideal.
The phone in the incident room rang. Nowa was closest and answered it. He listened for a moment and then said. “ Yes great stuff. You’re a good man Constable Juma, I’ll be there in a few minutes. Thank you very much!
Nowa replaced the receiver and turned to Ruby saying, “Things are moving boss. That was Juma. He’s just finished interviewing that William Josho character. Interesting revelations, apparently.
“Oh good!” Ruby said her mood brightening. “Hurry down and find out what he had to say.”
Ruby was reading through Judy’s folder of statements when the phone rang again. It was the desk sergeant this time. He was giving her the heads up. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dick Mukora was on his way up to her office. Time was running out.
Ruby thought quickly. “Here Judy call this number – the chap’s name is Woolie Kondoo. I want you both to go and see the publishing agent. See if Anindo spoke to anyone, dropped any clues. Search her office, computers etc. Once you’re finished there report back to me. I am moving the incident room to Muthangari Station.”
Woolie sat up in his chair and looked out of the the large window to the neat lawn where the bright sun was converting the morning dewdrops into strings of sparkling gems. Beyond that was the car park and by the main entrance stood two flag poles flying the Black Red and Green national flag and the blue Kenya Police flag. It was almost 08:30. Also seated in the incident room and waiting patiently for Commander Ruby Mwekundu to call the meeting to order were DS Nowa Indania, PC Judy Wanjiku and also Richard Kamba from Woolie’s office.
There was a sharp policeman’s knock on the door before a Constable ushered in the very last person most of them would have expected to see: Babu himself.
They shook hands all round and someone got Babu a seat. Woolie noted that old man was looking much better than when he had seen him last. He was clean shaved and wore a decent suit. His gaze and handshake were strong. Ruby called the meeting to order asking DS Indania to give a brief summary of the progress of investigations.
“Thanks boss.” DS Indania stood up and walked to the chalkboard. He cleared his throat and said, “Whilst I would hesitate to say that an arrest is imminent, I think we’re finally in a position to say that the case is becoming clearer with respect to motive and opportunity from the evidence in our possession.
He wrote the names Anindo Opondo and Ed Malu on the board. He then drew a line to connect the two, saying “I believe it is safe to surmise that Ed Malu died because he knew or saw the killer of Anindo Opondo. Unfortunately many of the witness statements and CCTV footage from the evening in question aren’t very useful because there was so much coming and going, as one would expect in a big party, and most of the cameras faced different directions at the crucial times. However Judy has been mining the depths of Youtube to come up with some fascinating results. Over to you, J”
Babu was loving all this. Judy got up and went to the front. She gave a recap of the Larry interview and how following on from that she had gone with Woolie to interview Anindo’s publishing agent. The agent had no clues about the identity of the person Anindo was about to expose but she allowed them full access to her office, papers and computers saying she was prepared to do anything to bring Anindo’s killer to book. They had trawled through her files and documents until late into the evening. Just as they were about to call it a day, Judy had picked up a simple USB memory stick, the really ordinary ones that one could buy from a hawker for a few bob. She popped it into the laptop to browse the contents only to find that she could not. It was encrypted. Her heart was pounding when Woolie suggested they send a police car immediately with blue lights to fetch Richard Kamba, the IT guy.
Richard Kamba loved an audience. He explained to the party how he had broken the encryption on his third attempt. Anindo was a very secretive person. She had used several layers of encryption to protect her secret. Kamba explained how he had used an algorithm that he had developed at Uni to dissolve Anindo’s layers and finally unlock the memory stick. To his dismay the contents of the now unlocked drive themselves were written in a special code. After studying the prose for a while he noticed a pattern. Just before ten-thirty that evening Richard Kamba had uncoded the piece of prose. The message was as stark as it was simple. This is what it said:
All my years of research and questioning and digging and searching and following lead me to only one conclusion. The person that killed both my parents has killed again and again. Like a black widow spider she has to kill in order to live. I am now 99.9% sure that the killer is working as a nurse at the Makro Hospital. Her name is Teresa Bae. AO July 2010
Ruby broke the silence. “And who the hell is Teresa Bae, do we know?” DS Indania stood again. “This is where it gets exciting, boss. There was nurse called Teresa Bae and she was married to Dr Simon Magoto, top Heart Specialist Makro Hospital Nairobi. Now please take a look at this picture of their wedding.”
This time it was Babu who spoke out. “Unbelievable! But this is not possible. Isn’t this Nancy Kibiwott, the Senator’s wife? The DS showed them several other photos from social media sites that showed beyond doubt that Teresa and Nancy were one and the same.
“That is just one of the many names that this individual has been known by.” Said Indania. Now listen to this. When we searched online for Simon Magoto we learned that he had died in a Road Traffic Accident in November of 2010. Bae inherited everything he had.
“When did she get married to Kibiwott?” asked Woolie. Still trying to piece it together.
Judy shook her head almost in disbelief, saying,“They’ve been married since December 2014. The Senator’s first wife died in 2013 of some blood disorder. Nancy had been employed to look after her when she broke her leg playing tennis. They had first met at the tennis club where Nancy also coached young players. The crazy thing is, this is just like in Anindo’s television show. A high society nurse who befriends wealthy couples, first kills the wife, marries the husband and kills him off for the money. Did any of you watch it?”
Ruby turned to Indania. “Now you can tell us what you learned from Juma’s interview with William Josho.”
The DS went back to the board and wrote the name Josho. “The car valet is a vital link that ties the suspect to the current case and also to the killings that have been carried out in the past. Josho, as Mr Dogar himself revealed is indeed a very hard-working individual. He not only works as a valet, he has the general responsibility of keeping the whole yard clean. He sweeps and washes and tidies stuff away. Josho met the suspect several years back whilst she was still married to the doctor. She told him that she was an amateur painter and she was looking for a special kind of metal powder – like the sort you get when you use a grinder on some iron. Josho told her that he swept up that stuff everyday. He could get her some for a small fee, and a relationship was born. The black metal soot is used as a slow poison. It attaches to the red blood cells inhibiting normal oxygen flow.
This is how the suspect weakened the victims.”
“But wait, said Ruby” “I thought Dr Simon Magoto crashed his car.”
“He did.” The DS replied. “The guys at the lab said that if you mixed the iron soot in a cola or Guinness drink the victim would not taste it. A full glass of the stuff would overload the brain in less than half an hour causing disorientation, blindness and muscle spasms. The poor Doctor’s autopsy report at the time stated that he had an elevated amount of iron in his blood which they put down to his love of liver.”
Babu did not seem convinced. “All this is circumstantial. We have nothing but Josho’s word that he has been supplying her with iron soot. She could deny all of it.”
“I was just coming to that”, the DS said. “The reason Josho’s evidence is so critical to this particular case is because he has claimed that the bag that was found in your van Babu, exhibit 1, was given to him by Nancy Kibiwott. He told us that….” DS Indania looked at his notebook. “ Here it is…on the 13th of June at around 09:30 I was cleaning the white van when Nancy Kibiwott came to the yard. She said she had a small bag for me to dispose of in the incinerator bin where we destroyed hazardous waste. I believe she told me that they were patients’ syringes. It was not an unusual request coming from a nurse. She had done so on previous occasions. I put the bag in the van’s glove box intending to dispose of it when I next went to the back of the workshop. The van owner collected the van whilst I had gone to answer a call of nature.”
“Wow… sounds like you have a slam dunk right there, Commander Ruby”, said Woolie giving Hi fives to Babu, Judy, Richard and the DS. Ruby was not keen. She was consulting her watch and biting her lower lip in that worried look that they knew so well.
Concerned, Babu said “What is it Ruby? Surely Nancy Kibiwott will not try to deny that all of you saw her receiving the big tin of iron soot from Josho as you sat in Dogar’s office.” And just as he finished saying that the penny dropped for Babu and the others. Ruby’s big concern now was that the Senator’s life was in grave danger.
Gerald Kibiwott was in high spirits. Like most people who will never admit it, he loved to travel. He was making his final preparations. In an hours time he would be flying back to his home state of Two Rivers for a much awaited kick-off to the campaign and voter registration exercise. He would meet with his Governor for dinner later that evening, sitting to watch the traditional dancers with the great and the good of Two Rivers. Much later there would be the banquet at State Lodge and here they would mingle with campaign strategists and donors drinking port and smoking cigars as only the best peoples’ representatives can do. He trembled with delight at the thought of seeing his beautiful campaign manager again.
Nancy would not be coming, which was no bad thing. She had wanted to ride beside him, just the two of them, in his chopper and he had struggled for days to find excuses to put her off. He loved flying solo. The feeling of freedom up there all alone was ecstatic. Now she told him she did not want to come. Instead she would be visiting friends in Naivasha. Result!
Kibiwott climbed into the cockpit and started up the helicopter. The switches and buttons lit up on the dashboard and he flicked them up and down to get the desired outputs. He pulled some knobs and pushed some levers and listened to the pitch of the engine. Everything was good. He was just about to put on his headphones when far in the distance he first saw the blue lights and then heard the sirens of the approaching police cars. He turned off the engine. The rotor blades continued to slice through the air making a swishing sound.
The police cars drew to a halt alongside the helicopter raising a cloud of dust. Commander Ruby Mwekundu was first out of her seat. She flashed her ID to the Senator. “Please sir we need to ask you some questions regarding a very serious matter. Can we go inside the house?”
The Senator climbed down the few steps to the ground and accompanied them to the house.
Commander Mwekundu said, “Senator, have you had anything to drink in the last twenty minutes to half an hour? It’s important that we know.”
The Senator look bemused. He said, “Of course I have. I just had two very large glasses of Guinness just before I walked over to my helicopter, the house-keeper said that my wife had left a big jug there at the bar for me. Why?”
“We strongly suspect that it may have been poisoned, sir. Judy please send for the doctor immediately. Woolie, go and find the house keeper. Senator, where is Mrs Kibiwott?”
The Senator replied that his wife had left with her driver about ten minutes earlier bound for Naivasha.
Woolie returned with the house-keeper who glared at commander Ruby She did not take too kindly to a summons from the police. “What is it?” She asked.
The commander said. “That is a big jug of Guinness at the bar. Had your mistress filled it to the top? The house keeper nodded. Ruby continued, “The Senator has only had two glasses. Did you drink some of it, miss?” The house-keeper let off a long mscheeeeeeew…
“Is that why you wake me from my afternoon nap? Are you crazy? I don’t drink. I am born again and saved by the blood of the lamb and I swear to you I did not have a drop of that evil drink.”
Ruby Mwekundu sighed. “Nobody is accusing you, miss I only ask because we believe that the drink has been poisoned. We need to know who else may have drank from the jug, that’s all.”
“Oh my goodness!” The house help gasped….
“When madam was getting ready her driver came over. He looked so hot and thirsty…I asked him if he would like a bit of ice water. He is such a cute young man. He said he preferred a bit of the Guinness. He must have had several large glasses when I wasn’t looking. I didn’t know it was poisoned” She let out a loud wail and fled outside.
They were all looking in the direction that the house-keeper had ran when suddenly the Senator gave a loud groan and slumped to the ground. His body writhed about fitfully and he shouted “ My eyes my eyes. Help me I can’t see.”
“Boss the Doctor is here”, said Woolie. The medic strode across the floor and knelt down beside the Senators limp body. He lifted the Senator’s eyelids and looked into his eyes closely. He then felt his pulse and said, “I have an antidote here which I will administer by injection. Thankfully the blindness and fits are only temporary and should clear up about an hour. Who else drank the Guinness?”
Nothing really prepares you for the sight of a bad car crash even if you have been warned about it. Commander Ruby Mwekundu had received news that a white BMW X5 bearing the registration of a car belonging to one Nancy Kibiwott had driven off the old Nakuru road at the escarpment near Mai Mahiu. Driver and passenger had been thrown clear of the twisted wreckage suggesting they had not been wearing seatbelts. Their severe injuries had proved fatal.
The justice that the countless victims of Nancy Kibiwott, alias Teresa Bae had been denied over the years had been delivered swiftly one warm afternoon on a dangerous stretch of highway.