Before 2013, very few Kenyans knew about billionaire businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, with the mainstream media admitting that they even had no photos of him in their gallery. He was painted as a behind-the-scenes person, calling the shots in the government.
The few who knew him believed he was part of the “deep state”, a group of powerful individuals believed to make certain decisions, especially in tenders and leadership. They are believed to be so influential in government circles to the extent of determining who becomes who whenever a government is being formed. This is what Jimmy Wanjigi was believed to be.
However, things changed in the General Elections of 2017, when Wanjigi, a former insider of the Jubilee government became a supporter of Raila Odinga in an election that was disputed. The fallout with Jubilee was so bad that the dreaded Flying Squad raided his house, and left with a number of guns he owned.
Wanjigi would later move to court to compel the government to return his guns. In his ruling in 2019, Justice Chacha Mwita said that the State acted irrationally by carting away the businessman’s guns while he still held a valid license to keep the same.
The guns were not returned.
He moved to court, in a case filed before Anthony Mrima demanding that the director of Criminals Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti be punished for failing to return a Smith and Wesson pistol, a Glock Pistol, a Mini Acher, and M4CQ assault rifles. The firearms are semi-automatic self-loading assault rifles mostly used by special forces and tactical police units. Their firepower, according to Kinoti, is lethal and devastating. It is prohibited by the law in Kenya to be sold, possessed or dealt with in any manner by civilians.
Kinoti was on Thursday, November 18, 2021, sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of court after failing to surrender guns to Wanjigi.
However, a look into the court documents reveals that Wanjigi was a police officer of the rank of an inspector of police (reserve). He was sacked and stripped off all his police powers and ordered to surrender all firearms and ammunition in his custody, in 2001.
According to the documents, he however later had his way after some time and was given back his firearms but never reinstated in the police service. The reason for his sacking and dispossession of his firearms was threatening other people with the said firearms.
Barely six years after the unceremonious exit from the police service, more people lodged complaints of their life being in danger following threats by use of firearms by Wanjigi.
He was for the second time ordered to surrender his firearms and ammunition and had his certificate of civilian firearm canceled.
“The suspect after some time had his way and had his certificate reinstated and repossessed his firearm and ammunition again. With time, he boosted his cache with both lawfully and unlawfully acquired firearms to a number that rivaled some large police stations armoury. Following information of possible National security concerns, police obtained orders for a search warrant,” said Kinoti in his affidavit.
Kinoti revealed that out of the seven firearms, only five belonged to him. Two were established to belong to some other people.
“Mostly a magazine accommodates 15 rounds at a go. And as a standard, a firearm is sold with two magazines. So, the five firearms could hold 150 rounds each for both magazines. There was thus, an extra of 538 amongst them the most lethal prohibited armos which translates to approximately 36 more magazines. This is akin to what the terrorists use in mass massacre,” said Kinoti.
On January 30, 2018, Wanjigi’s civilian firearm certificate was revoked for the third time. He was ordered to surrender immediately the firearm certificate, all firearms and ammunition in his possession.
On February 6, 2018, Wanjigi through his advocate averred that all his firearms and ammunition were confiscated from his residence on October 17, 2017, and therefore he had nothing more to surrender.
However further investigations have established that between February 12, 1997, and June 14, 2014, he had acquired a total of 16 firearms and more ammunition
It is this discovery that he was found in possession of illegal firearms that were established to have been licensed to some other people which lead to suspicion that what was not recovered and not surrendered could be hidden in one of the persons’ residences in Nyeri, Nyeri-Mweiga road near Dedan Kimathi University.
“In view of the two above firearms, the suspect was not licensed to have them in his possession thus contravened the law,” added Kinoti.
On February 7, 2018 the investigating team submitted to the ballistic expert the two assault rifles for examination and later received a report confirming that the two rifles namely CN005433-13 and Mini Archer 5/No. 2013-1M11 were semi-automatic assault rifle designed to Chamber Ammunitions of Caliber 5.56mm x 45. The two firearms are categorized as prohibited weapons as defined under the prohibited weapon under the Firearms Act.