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Police posing as a hitman arrests Kenyan top banker in foiled murder plot

A former director at a leading bank in Kenya has been slapped with a Sh761 million bond after being arrested in the U.S. for planning to kill a family member

Leonard Thuo Mwithiga

A former director at a local bank was arrested in the United States on Monday, December 4, in scheme to allegedly murder a family member.

U.S. media house NBC was first to report that Leonard Thuo Mwithiga fell into a trap laid by authorities as he planned the murder.

Connecticut State Police alleged that Mwithaga has asked a taxi driver in the U.S. for help to identity a hitman who could help him execute the plan.

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After the driver informed the police of Mwithaga’s intentions, an undercover officer was assigned to the investigation.

The undercover officer contacted the suspect who communicated his plan without knowledge that the officer was recording their conversation.

Mwithaga offer the ‘hit man’ $300 (Sh45,714) in good faith ahead of the job and also offered the taxi driver $100 (Sh15,238).

After completion of the job, the hitman would get $4,000 (Sh609,520) through the taxi driver.

Mwithaga and the driver had first met in September and several other times as he travelled to and from Kenya.

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According to documents filed in court, Mwithaga said that he wanted the murder to happen between January 28 and February 3, 2024 while he was in Kenya.

Connecticut State Police believe that the woman who was targeted was a witness in a civil case involving the suspect.

"The execution of this murder-for-hire plot would render the victim unable to testify in such proceeding," authorities said.

The undercover police posing as a hitman was supposed to go out on a date with the woman and take cocaine. The victim would then snort pure fentanyl.

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However, the hitman was asked to find alternative ways of killing the victim by mounting a surveillance.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Due to its high potency, there is a significant risk of overdose and respiratory depression associated with the use of pure fentanyl.

The state asked the judge to set Mwithaga’s bond at $5 million (Sh761 million), arguing that he was a flight risk because he did not have any ties to the local community in Connecticut.

However, the defence lawyer argues that his client was a top banker in Kenya and asked for bond to be set at $250,000 (Sh38,095,000).

The judge set the bond as $5 million (Sh761 million)

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