“WHO KILLED DR. R. J. OUKO AND WHY?” – COULD IT HAVE BEEN AIRAGHI AND BRINER-MATTERN?
During the Kenya police’s ‘Further Investigations’ they ‘came across’ a document (the report does not say how) entitled, “Who Killed Dr. Ouko and Why?” It was signed but the signature was unreadable and underneath the signature was typed, ‘Dated this 4th December, 1991 at Rome’. [Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]
The document of unknown origin alleged that ‘Mrs. Marianne’ and ‘Mr. Airaghi’ were the master minds behind the murder of the late Dr. Ouko’. [KPFI page 71, 9:1]
It claimed that Briner-Mattern, a woman the document describes as ‘of questionable morality,’ had ‘enticed, lured and consorted with several Kenyans in the 1970s notable among her victims and/or beneficiaries those days include cabinet ministers especially Dr. Njoroge Mungai’.[Page 1 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]
It also claimed that Briner-Mattern was ‘on espionage assignments in Kenya, but she combined a number [of] questionable roles with business and holidaying as cover-ups’.
‘In 1979, the then Kenya’s Principal Immigration officer Mr. James Mutua personally deported her’ the document stated but ‘She came back in the mid 8o’s this time diquised [sic] as a married, respectable and resourceful business executive…’ [Page 2 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]
‘It is in the course of Marriane’s operations in Kenya in late 1986 that she identified the Kisumu Molasses plant as a possible project for realizing part of her grand plan to swindle Kenya’s and Italian governments money’. [Page 2 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]
The “Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?” document claimed that Briner-Mattern and Airaghi won over Dr Ouko to believe that they could help arrange funding for the rehabilitation of the Molasses Plant and that they helped fund Ouko’s 1988 election campaign as he was ‘crucial for the success of Marriane’s plans’:
‘…Dr. Airaghi provided money to finance Dr. Ouko’s election campaign and Harambee funds drives. The staggering amounts used to campaign for Dr. Ouko was banked in two accounts in two State banks in Kisumu: KCB and National Bank of Kenya. These arrangements were approved by Dr. Ouko and executed by Mr. Reru who was Dr. Ouko’s cousin and campaign manager. Reru and Dr. Airaghi were the two signatories to the accounts with Charles Owino of NBK Kisumu, close associate of Oyugi’s, overseeing the money laundering operations. Casual labour was hired to provide a cover to the real activities of Dr. Airaghi and group. In actual fact, bush clearing within the molasses plant was done for a few days.’
The central allegations were that after Dr Ouko became Minister of Foreign Affairs in March 1989 and the Molasses Project ground to a halt, Briner-Mattern and Airaghi pressured and threatened him to get the money-making project underway but he failed to do so. Bitter at the waste of their time and money, Brinner-Mattern and Airaghi ‘orchestrated’ a conflict ‘between Dr. Ouko and some of his colleagues – notably the Industry and Energy Ministers’ (Dalmas Otieno and Nicholas Biwott respectively).
Far from Dr. Ouko writing a report on corruption among other Ministers at the time of his murder the “Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?” document stated that he was writing one on the corrupt dealings of the BAK group and PEC (a consortium of companies from Italy and Switzerland that had been involved with the initial building of the Molasses Plant). It was for this reason that Briner-Mattern and Airaghi planned to kill Dr Ouko, the document alleged.
In preparation for the murder, it was claimed, ‘several fictitious letters allegedly written by a consortium of firms in Italy and Switzerland were churned out to various people and institutions. Detailed corrupt practices in Kenya, some true and some not true were weaved and dispatched. Some of these went to Dr. Ouko.’
They then recruited, so the story went, at least six people to carry out the murder. These, allegedly, were:
‘Oyugi – because he feared exposure by Dr. Ouko
Mbajah – Ouko’s brother whose wife had an affair with Dr. Ouko
Omino – a long time political opponent of Dr. Ouko
Gondi – financial adviser to Oyugi and had got sacked from Thabiti Finance on Ouko’s instigation
Anguka – Whos [sic] wife was Dr. Ouko’s PA and with whom Dr. Ouko had sired her two last children
Oraro – Oyugi’s lawyer’
Later, it claimed, James K’oyoo, Ouko’s campaign manager, was brought in on the act. He together with Oraro, ‘called on Dr. Ouko on the night of the murder. Earlier he had been telephoned that K’oyoo would bring a lady to Dr. Ouko for the night. Then Oraro comes and says he has some useful information to discuss with Dr. Ouko. Oraro told Ouko the discussion would be better done in Kisumu since he suspected Ouko’s house was bugged.’
‘And out Dr. Ouko went unguarded since Oyugi had withdrawn the security personnel attached to him. Before being shot, Dr. Ouko was tortured to reveal who else knew about the corruption details he had been compiling. After being killed Dr. Ouko was burnt to hide the torture marks. Oraro later came to Dr. Ouko’s house, bribed the AP guard (Agalo) to keep quiet and collected all the papers relating to corruption and took them to Oyugi for onward transmission to Dr. Airgaghi’s group. The series of documents that were given to the Ouko inquiry and stole the limelight during the proceedings were manufactured and dispatched to Kenya to divert attention from Marrianne and Airaghis role’.[Page 8 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]
The “Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?” document contained an intriguing postscript. Written by hand, it said:
‘P.S. I am friend of Kenya and an acquaintance of Marianne. I first met with Marrianne in 1988 at Palermo, my home town. The mayor of Palermo is a close friend of mine and am a member of Social Democrat Party. That is all about me – Do not look for me, because Mafia might find you before you find me. Bye – cheerio’ [Page 9 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]
In their ‘Further Investigations’ Report the Kenya police Stated they ‘found no evidence to support the allegations’. [KPFI 9:1 page 72]
Next Chapter: Domestic Affairs