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Governor Kabogo cleared in Mercy Keino murder inquest

Kiambu Governor Kabogo and five others adversely mentioned in the murder of University of Nairobi student Mercy Keino five years ago have been have been let off the hook.

Kehancha magistrate Peter Ndwiga, who conducted the inquest, said there was no evidence linking the deceased to the murder of the girl on the night of June 17 and 18, 2011.

Subsequently,  he terminated the inquest.

“After carefully evaluating the evidence presented before the court, the adversely mentioned parties had no motive to harm the deceased and cannot be held responsible for the death,” said Mr Ndwiga in his ruling.

He said all the evidence produced did not link the people who had been mentioned in the death.

Mr Ndwiga, the magistrate who heard the proceedings at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, delivered the judgment yesterday from his new station in Kehancha, Migori County.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko had ordered a public inquiry to establish how the student died after police failed to link any suspect to the murder.

The body of Ms Keino was found on Nairobi’s Waiyaki Way, after she attended a house party hosted by Governor Kabogo.

POLITICAL IMAGE

“It’s however not forthrightly clear how the deceased met her death or how, when and by whom the fatal blow was administered. There are clearly no other co-existing circumstances which would weaken or destroy the inferences derived from that circumstantial evidence,” the court said.

“It is unfortunate that the inference created herein is that the deceased wandered onto a busy public road in a drunken stupor in the middle of the night and hence may have greatly contributed or may have been the author of her own misfortune whereby she was involved in a fatal hit and run traffic accident,” the magistrate ruled.

The magistrate said that in terminating the inquest, “it is the opinion of this court that the evidence on record does not disclose the commission of an offence by the persons who had been mentioned. This inquest is therefore marked as closed.”

Mr Ndwiga said the adduced evidence has not supported the theory of criminal homicide.

The family of Ms Keino had disputed that the deceased died in a road accident and later demanded thorough investigations into the circumstances surrounding her death.

The closure of the inquest is a big relief to Governor Kabogo whose political opponents were already using the case to taint his political image in Kiambu.

During the hearings, Mr Kabogo, told the inquest that he was not involved in Ms Keino’s death and alluded to the possibility that he was being fixed politically.

In February this year, Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor told the inquest that Ms Keino “sustained fatal injuries before her death but acquired more as she passed on.”

CAUSE OF DEATH

Dr Oduor, who conducted the autopsy on the body, testified that it was difficult to determine the “cause of death” because of the multiple fractures she sustained in the ordeal.

The doctor said the autopsy could not ascertain whether she was killed elsewhere and her body dumped on the highway or whether she was hit and run over by car in motion.

Others cleared by the court include Emanuel Mugaru, Robert Gitau, Joseph Kangethe, Peter Munene and David Kuria who were also present at the Wasini Luxury Homes where the night party took place.

The public inquest was opened after the investigating officers could not establish the cause of the death and the persons responsible, and hence forwarded their report to the director of public prosecutions who later directed that the matter be disposed of by away of inquest.

“From the outset, it’s clear that  the State/prosecution counsel leading the inquest a Mr Omirera, fronted  several divergent theories on how the deceased had met her sudden and sad demise,” said the magistrate.

“The theories put forward included that the deceased had been involved in a fatal hit and run traffic accident and that the deceased had been killed elsewhere and her body dumped on the city road,” he added.

A total of 46 witnesses appeared before the court and testified in the inquest.

Two of those witnesses were the deceased’s family members while another one was a fiancée of the deceased identified as Ronald Kiprop Kemboi. Nine others were from Wasini Luxury Homes in Nairobi where Ms Keino attended the night party.