City businessman in Sh95m land case gunned down
A land dealer linked to a Sh95 million court case was shot dead in Nairobi on Wednesday night in what appeared to be a pre-meditated and well-planned attack.
Thirteen bullets were fired at the Mercedes Benz that 42-year-old Paul Kariuki Ngugi was driving in the Parklands area, just near the National Museums flyover, but not single spent cartridge was found at the scene of the crime.
Mr Kariuki’s death raises questions because on October 14 last year, another city businessman, Mr Stephen Wachira, was shot at 13 times about 150 metres from where Mr Kariuki was gunned down.
Mr Wachira’s car, also a Benz, was towed to Parklands Police Station.
On Thursday, the two vehicles were parked about 15 metres from each other.
During the Wednesday attack, Mr Kariuki’s passenger, Ms Susan Wambura Riziki, who was sitting next to him at the front, was unscathed.
According to police records, Ms Riziki, a hair dresser, was treated for bruises and discharged from the Aga Khan University Hospital where she and Mr Kariuki were taken after the 11pm gun attack.
“He was with a female companion who only sustained bruises on the chin. The two were rushed to Aga Khan Hospital where he was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but later died,” said Police Spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki.
Mr Kariuki had a land fraud case pending before a Nairobi court where he last appeared on December 17.
Ms Mboroki said police on patrol heard gunshots near the Shell petrol station on Forest Road and when they got there, they found Mr Kariuki, a former employee of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), in the driver’s seat with multiple gunshot wounds.
Mr Kariuki was driving on Kolobot Road. As he joined Forest Road, gunmen who had been trailing him struck, firing at his car 13 times. His vehicle stopped on the second bump from the junction.
The driver’s door had three bullet holes while the rear right door had five. The rear right window and the front windscreen also had a bullet hole each. The front window on the passenger side was also shattered by a bullet.
Records at the City Mortuary indicated that Mr Kariuki’s body had two bullets in his lower right abdomen, two on his neck, one in his chest and another in his right arm.
He was also found with Sh23,010 and a KRA staff card and other personal belongings.
Mr Kariuki’s wife, Mrs Rhoda Kariuki, on Thursday saud that she last spoke with her husband at around 9pm on Wednesday night and he told her that he would arrive home late because he would be attending a meeting.
“I went to bed and in the middle of the night, I tried calling him, but his phones went unanswered. I kept calling at intervals in vain,” she said.
At about 6.40am, a police officer called her and asked her to go to Parklands Police Station. He told her that her husband had been involved in an accident.
“I wondered why he told me to go to the police station, and not to the hospital. As I entered the station, I spotted my husband’s car and when I went closer, I realised that it had been sprayed with bullets,” she said.
She was later told by a police officer that Mr Kariuki was admitted at the Aga Khan University Hospital, only to get there and be informed that he had died.
She described her husband of 13 years as a gentle and loving man. The couple had four children aged 11 and five and twins aged four.
“I really want to know who killed my husband and for what reason. I wonder what he did that could not be forgiven or rectified. He did not deserve to die. Not at this time when we need him the most,” said the tearful widow.
Mr Kariuki’s father, Mr James Ngugi, said he last spoke with him only four hours before he met his death.
“He had at 5pm sent me Sh10,000 through M-Pesa,” he said. He said he was not aware of any death threats against his son.
The shooting brings to 20 the number of people killed under mysterious circumstances in Nairobi alone in the recent past.
Investigators linked Mr Wachira’s murder to land disputes. Mr Kariuki, too, had been released on a Sh10 million bond and was to appear in court again on March 26 for the hearing of his fraud case.
He had been accused, together with others, of forging documents to show that he owned property, which he sold to Mr Stephen Irungu Macharia for Sh95 million between May 11 and July 26 last year.
It turned out that the land belonged to Mr Joseph Muthama Macharia.