The wife of Thika millionaire Julius Gitau is now under investigation as detectives seek to unravel the mystery surrounding the businessman’s disappearance.
Police say Lucy Wahu and the trader’s driver, Geoffrey Wachira, are now persons of interest as the probe enters day 24.
The two might have crucial information about his whereabouts, Gatanga Police boss Peter Mucheru told the Nation Tuesday.
“The two reported Gitau as missing at around 4pm. Of great interest is that they indicated Gitau’s age to be 60 whereas we have since confirmed that he was born in 1976; he is 44. We are faced with an unlikely situation where Wahu does not know the age of her husband,” he said.
Ms Wahu said they boarded a matatu at Ndururumo terminus to Thika town, where they opened their two wholesale shops at 8am. They used public transport since Gitau’s vehicles were out of petrol, she claimed.
However, Kiambu Business Community Chairman Alfred Wanyoike disputed the narrative “since all his eight vehicles were in good condition”.
“The wife’s claim that he (Gitau) lacked petrol to fuel his cars is weird. In the two shops, his employees say he did not show up,” he said.
Wahu and Wachira also told police that Gitau drove an old truck from one of the shops to a gym about three kilometres away at around 9.30am. However, there is no evidence he showed up at the said gym.
“Their story doesn’t make sense. Why would a man who owned two cars choose to drive a truck used for supplies to the gym? I don’t believe him,” said Mr Wanyoike.
Mr Wachira, who is Wahu’s nephew, then claimed that Gitau called and instructed him to collect the truck from Blue Post Hotel at around 10am.
“He told us that he found Gitau’s phone ringing inside the cabin and switched it off. He also found a masking tape and a suicide note that hinted that its author had lost hope in life due to financial stress and had decided to jump into a river. Strangely, Wachira did not see any urgency to report the matter,” said Mr Mucheru.
The suicide note has since been dismissed by investigators as “a mismatch since it was not authored by Gitau”.
“The emerging issues now strongly point to a conspiracy theory that puts his wife and the driver in the middle of it. The two are the only ones aware whether Gitau is dead or alive,” Mr Mucheru said.
Gitau’s mother, Rosemary Wanjiru, 68, the business community and close friends claim there’s bad blood between Ms Wahu and her two co-wives.
The frosty relations are blamed for the continued closure of his businesses since they are yet to agree on who among them should be the estate’s acting administrator in their husband’s absence.
But Godfrey Kahuthu, a Thika-based lawyer, has urged the police to widen their scope and consider Gitau’s disappearance a possible case of murder.
“Police should stop treating Gitau only as missing. The issue is of great criminal dimensions touching on possible abduction, murder or a grand conspiracy to spread panic and despondency. They should start raiding houses,” said Mr Kahuthu.
Mr Gitau, whose business empire runs under the name Jugi Investments, was brought up in Kaharati village, Kigumo Sub-County, Murang’a County.
After completing his primary schooling, Gitau left home and ended up in Thika in 1992 where he became a hawker. He was an 18-year-old then.
“From a Sh100 daily profit from hawking, Mr Gitau worked his way up financially.
“He had opened several kiosks by 2000, dealing in general merchandise,” Mr Wanyoike added.
“By 2005, he had opened two wholesale outlets, which performed very well, catapulting him into the millionaires’ club.”