Truck driver tells court how his former bosses almost burnt him alive
A long distance truck driver with a Mombasa-based transport company told a Mariakani Court on Friday that his former bosses watched as he was being set on fire at the company yard.
The driver, Mr Isaac Njoroge, 39, who was accused of stealing cargo – aluminum coils worth millions of shillings – and has been charged with the offence, told Mariakani Senior Principal Magistrate Nathan Shiundu that before the torture he was arrested by P. N Mashru staff well known by him.
“On January 28, 2016, on my way to Port Reitz as I went looking for a job, I was stopped by a P. N Mashru pick up and those inside told me the boss wanted to talk to me. I saw Martin Makanda and Ali Kamtu inside who told me their boss needed me to settle some issues at their yard,” Mr Njoroge told the Court.
He added that upon arrival he was tied and a tyre put on him. “After being tied, one of the men (Kamtu) poured thinner on my back and lit the fire,” said the father of seven.
During the hearing the court had an opportunity to view two clips which were produced as evidence before the court.
The clips which were secretly recorded on phone by one of the employees at the P.N Mashru yard showed Mr Njoroge tied up with ropes both hands and legs inside a tyre with workers and some supervisors looking on.
Defense Lawyer Mr Michael Oloo representing the company challenged the authenticity of the video during the cross examination of witnesses, arguing that none of the clips showed Mr Njoroge being burnt as alleged.
However, Mr Njoroge maintained that he knew the three former colleagues very well having worked with them for over three years and were instrumental in his torture.
“There were many people who witnessed as I was being set ablaze despite other workers being on lunch break. Shortly after I was set on fire, some of my colleagues used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire before I was taken to Mariakani Police Station,” Mr Njoroge submitted.
Mr Njoroge, who had earlier on admitted to have quit his job, explained that he was forced to abandon the company truck in Nairobi after he was told of a ‘short’ in the cargo he was transporting.
He told the court he stayed away for close to four months before going back to Mombasa due to illness.
At the same time, Mr Barrington Charo a Clinical Officer Mariakani Sub County Hospital told the court he saw Mr Njoroge and even filled the P3 form.
“I filled the P3 form according to the history of the victim. Nothing else could have been responsible for such injuries except a fire,” he said.
While giving his evidence OCS Timothy Mwangi confirmed receiving a suspect who was brought at his office with burns on his back.
“On the 28th January 2016 at around 1600hrs, a suspect was brought in my office by P.N Mashru security officers and he had been injured.
I saw some burns on his back but he narrated to me that he had been arrested by the guards that very day at around Jomvu area and taken to their office in Mombasa and back to the Kokotoni office,” Mr Mwangi said.
The officer told the court he had been told that the suspect had been beaten by a mob as he tried to escape arrest.
“In my view, the suspect did not seem to have been beaten by the mob because he was clean apart from the injuries he had on the back. He told me that he had been burnt by someone called Kamtu who he claimed had poured thinner on him,” OCS Mwangi said.
He said the suspect was not under his area of jurisdiction but he saw it fit to save his life first before he could hand him over to Rabai security chiefs.
Prosecuting Counsel Vivianne Nyangena said out of the seven witnesses, three had already testified and that the remaining four will appear in the next hearing.