Banker charged in US court for seeking hitman to murder kin

A director at leading Kenyan bank has been charged in the United States with trying to hire a hitman to kill one of his family members and bring others back to Kenya.
Leonard Thuo Mwithiga, 53, was arrested two days after a confidential informant went to police and reported that he had asked for his help to find a hitman to kill the relative.
According to a family friend, the relative and her children relocated to the US sometime back after he allegedly threatened to kill her over a property dispute. It is then that he hatched plans to accomplish his mission there. 
Media reports in the US said an informant told police that Mwithiga, who has worked in the financial sector since 2003 holding senior portfolios at various banks, traveled back and forth between the US and Kenya between September 9 and December 1 and he asked several times about arranging for a hitman.
Court documents mentioned some specific instances.
“(The witness) stated that eventually, Mwithiga would set up rides via personal text, outside of the ‘Uber’ platform” and that during these rides the informant “began to record conversations” where Mwithiga expressed “he was considering “harming” the relative.
They said that on October 26, Mwithiga contacted the man and asked if he knew someone who could “hit” the relative and he wanted to “put that woman down.”
Then, on November 3, for instance, the defendant allegedly asked the Uber driver to take him to a residence in the state to “look for the woman and kids", the documents said.
“During this trip, Mwithiga asked (the witness) if he knew anyone who could ‘hit’ the relative, that he wanted someone to ‘finish her,’” US authorities alleged.
And on December 1, he asked the informant to hire a hitman and said it was OK if she was injected with something that made her very sick, “like a cancer,” according to court documents.
“Mwithiga stated that he was ‘very, very mad, I need someone who is a killer,’” the Law and Crime website quoted the police report as stating.
Fled Kenya
The victim, when interviewed by police, said she and their two kids fled Kenya in September 2022 because Mwithiga had, on at least one occasion, threatened to kill her and the kids.
A year earlier, when the woman tried to leave Kenya with her kids, Mwithiga filed a police report to have her sent to a mental hospital.
According to a report in NBC News Connecticut, an undercover state trooper posed as the “hitman,” who was supposed to take the victim on a date and drug her, court documents state.
Mwithiga allegedly said that he wanted to “fight evil with evil,” and he’d planned to pay Sh613,400 ($4,000) in exchange for someone killing her.
Mwithiga said he wanted the death to happen between January 28, 2024 and February 3, 2024, when he would be in Kenya and would not be a suspect, according to court records.
Mwithiga was arrested and charged with criminal attempt/intimidation of a witness, conspiracy to commit murder and criminal attempt, murder with special circumstances.
Mwithiga, who has been staying at a Putnam hotel for the last month while he addresses legal matters, left his job in June and was planning to return to Kenya on Thursday, according to statements made in court.
Prosecutors argued that Mwithiga has limited ties to the community and is a flight risk and asked for bond to be set at Sh76.7 million ($5 million).
Mwithiga’s public defender said maintains his innocence and asked for bond to be set at Sh38 million ($250,000). The bond has been set at $5 million.
“It was determined that there is a current court proceeding involving the accused and the victim in which the execution of this murder-for-hire plot would render the victim unable to testify,” said Connecticut police.
Mwithiga must surrender all firearms and the judge granted a full no-contact protective order for any victims and cooperating witnesses.
The judge said minor children are involved and Mwithiga must stay 2,500 feet away from protected persons at all times.
If he posts bond, Mwithiga must surrender his passport and cannot leave Connecticut. He would need to be on GPS monitoring and be on around-the-clock lockdown.
The next court date is set for January 26.

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