A week after the United States (US) issued a travel ban against former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his immediate family over significant corruption dealings, the federal government has now shifted focus and placed yet another Kenyan politician under their radar.
According to reports from trusted insiders within the US State Department, Antony John Blinken is strongly drawn to the puzzling murder case of renowned environment activist Joanna Stuchburry, in which Bahati Member of Parliament Kimani Ngunjiri was identified as a person of interest.
The 64-year old was attacked by unknown assailants near her home in Thindigua, Kiambu County on July 15th 2021.
Witnesses said she stopped her car to clear tree branches blocking her driveway when she the gunmen fired.
Her body was found in the car with the engine still running and valuables still intact, which suggested that the attack was not a robbery.
An autopsy done on her body showed that Stuchburry was shot in the head three times and six times in the upper limbs.
The attack took place about 150 meters from her house in Mushroom Gardens Estate.
Through a statement by Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, the US expressed their great desire in ensuring that justice is served for Stutchbury.
On Tuesday, October 26, Environmental Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko, appeared before the Senate Security Committee and revealed that Stutchbury was murdered over her relentless efforts to conserve the environment.
In his submissions, CS Tobiko made reference to a case before the Kiambu Courts in February 2018 where Agropack Limited, a company in which MP Kimani Ngunjiri is the director, sued the Kenya Forest Service (1st defendant) and Stuchburry (2nd defendant) for blocking its attempt to create a road that connects to the legislator’s parcel of land namely: LR NO. 25009, measuring over 6.795 hectares.
During the same week, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) confirmed that Stutchbury, who was known for her relentless efforts to protect Kiambu Forest from private developers, had received multiple death threats due to her campaign against encroachment.
Based on his findings, Tobiko concluded that authorities should peg on the well-documented confrontation between Stutchbury and Ngunjiri and treat the MP as a major person of interest in the controversial murder.
Following the conclusion of the hearings, in their final recommendation, the committee directed the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to probe the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) noisemaker with a view to make an arrest and prosecute him over Stutchbury’s death.
Although investigations into the matter stalled back here in Kenya, officials from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (who often work in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State) have been sniffing around MP Ngunjiri’s records after his name constantly appeared in their database.
This was thanks to colossal pressure from various international conservation groups and human rights defenders who all maintained that Stutchbury was killed by the grabbers of the forest land.
In their petition, the lobbyists said her murder was a continuation of the killings of environmentalists and conservationists in the country.
In anticipation of what looks like his imminent arrest of the MP, the US is said to be in the process of initiating a complete travel ban to Ngunjiri and members of his immediate family.
The nation is known to hold strict entry rules and one of the key factors considered before admission is whether the affected party has been previously arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in “serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority”.
If this goes through, just like in Sonko’s case, MP Ngunjiri would not be granted permission to enter the US because based on his type of record, he would be deemed as a high risk.
All his applications for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or any other kind of visa would be immediately declined.
As per our ever credible sources, Eric Watnik, the Counsellor for Public Diplomacy at the US embassy in Nairobi is said to be already in possession of this highly classified information is expected to make a public statement in the coming weeks.
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