Phone links man to Mumias boss murder

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By KIPCHUMBA SOME
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The slain Mumias Sugar Company legal affairs manager Ronald Lubya suspected that a colleague at the company was planning to harm him.

Six days before he was killed last Monday, Mr Lubya called a junior employee at the company—whom we shall call Mr A—and accused him of “monitoring his moves”.

He made the call which lasted two minutes on May 29 at 3:05pm.

The call is among phone recordings that Mr Lubya made in his phone while talking to colleagues and family members.

The phone was recovered at his house in Lukusi village in Matungu sub county where he was murdered by a three-man gang, who also gagged and assaulted a woman he was with. 

An autopsy report concluded that he died as a result of a blunt force trauma to the head.

In his call to Mr A, which the Sunday Nation listened to, Mr Lubya tells his colleague in a calm voice “I know you are coordinating with some people to harm me.” Mr A pleaded his ignorance of such a scheme.  “Whoever told you so lied to you,” he told the lawyer.  

Yesterday, Mumias criminal investigation officer, Mr Robert Mureithi, said police were investigating threat allegations by the family.

“We are probing a Mumias Sugar Company employee who is accused of threatening Mr Lubya. We are, however, not treating him as a main suspect,” said Mr Mureithi.

He added the family had told the police that the deceased had complained of being trailed by a person known to him.

“We summoned the Mumias Sugar Company worker who was mentioned by Mr Lubya’s family members for interrogations and recorded his statement,” said Mr Mureithi

Mr Lubya’s recordings paint the picture of a man unease with the young employee whom he believed was working in cahoots with another person named Ken to harm him. 

On May 31, two days after he confronted Mr A, Mr Lubya called the company’s Head of Security, a Mr Isaac, complaining that the unnamed colleague had once again followed him to Bungoma even after he confronted him on phone.

Huyu kijana ananifuatafuata (this young man is following me around),” he told Isaac in Kiswahili. 

Isaac advised the lawyer to file a formal complaint with him but Mr Lubya declined, and said he raised the matter in an executive meeting at the company.

In another recording lasting four minutes, a member of the Board of Directors is heard telling Mr Lubya to ensure some three unnamed companies got a tender the company was about to award. 

We could not establish the nature or the worth of the tender in question.

The board member who talks to the lawyer in an abrasive and dismissive manner, suggests to Mr Lubya that he will benefit financially if he played ball.

The lawyer sounds to be playing along, telling the board member that he would do his best to secure the tender for the three companies.

He then thanks the board member for his “guidance” during board meeting.

Mr Lubya will be buried at his Ivona village home, Vihiga County on June 17. 

In a letter to senior staff, Mr Errol said plans to revive the miller had been frustrated by the government. On Friday, the company’s board appointed Mr Nashon Aseka as the new CEO. He was the factory manager at the company until his appointment. Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga said that the killing of the lawyer is connected to the troubles bedeviling Mumias Sugar Company.

“This matter should be thoroughly investigated. President Uhuru Kenyatta was in Kakamega and did not speak about it,” Mr Akaranga said.

The Law Society of Kenya led by its President Isaac Okero, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Joseph Boinett to fast-track investigations into the killing.

Meanwhile, family members led by Ms Nancy Mudeheka, the slain lawyer’s sister, disowned Ms Josephine Shikunyi, the woman Mr Lubya was with at the time of the attack. But speaking separately in Kakamega, Ms Shikunyi insisted he was Lubya’s wife.

“I wouldn’t want to engage in tussles over this matter. I will attend my husband’s burial  in Vihiga,” she said.

 Additional reporting by Derick Luvega and Shaban Makokha.

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