Investigations into the death of a man in police custody in Tala, Machakos County, have taken a sharp turn after a post-mortem examination showed that he had massive physical injuries and a fractured skull.
Muli Nduva was arrested at a bar on the night of September 17 by officers from the Tala Police Station.
His body was found the next day at City Mortuary in Nairobi, more than 70km away.
Police had insisted that Mr Nduva, who was arrested for reportedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, had ingested acid but did not explain how he got hold of the lethal liquid when he was under their watch.
Matungulu Sub-County Police Commander Monicah Kimani said her officers acted professionally at all stages, from the time Mr Nduva was arrested to when he was found dead.
Mr Nduva, she said, had been reported twice to Tala police for threatening his ex-girlfriend with death and was to be charged in court the day his body was found at City Mortuary.
“The matter was promptly investigated and the file made ready for him to be taken to court. On the same night, the suspect was spotted along Tala-Kangundo road, next to Eastmart supermarket, where our mobile team moved to make an arrest,” Ms Kimani said.
On seeing the officers, she said, he took the contents of a water bottle that he was carrying. The officers did not verify what was in the bottle, as it had been discarded.
When he was being booked, the police boss said, he told the officers that “he had taken some kind of acid”.
Version of events disputed
This version of events was disputed by Mr Nduva’s family, who said that he was picked up from the bar by four officers in the company of his ex-girlfriend, identified as Jacinta.
“My son was murdered. The government should ask Jacinta because she is the one who brought the officers to the bar. In fact, she is the one who called Nduva, asking him where he was and then he called him when they reached the bar,” Margarete Katumbe told the Nation at City Mortuary on Tuesday night after a five-hour post-mortem contradicted what the police had said.
“While outside the bar, the police told me that they had released Nduva and even pointed to a person who was walking in the dark, saying it was him,” said Nduva’s cousin Nixon Mbaki.
“I ran towards the person and when I realised it was not my cousin the police also threatened to arrest me after I asked them why they were lying.”
The post-mortem was conducted by three pathologists, including one hired by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
A preliminary report shows that Mr Nduva died from blunt force trauma to the head. His skull had a massive fracture, one of his hands was broken and there were visible injuries in different parts of his body.
While police say they don’t know what killed Mr Nduva, they have stuck to their story that he ingested acid and was taken to Kangundo Hospital before being referred to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
But last evening the Nation was unable to find any records of Mr Nduva having been admitted to KNH between November 16 and 20, the period that these tragic events are said to have happened.