BY SAM ALFAN.
A Milimani court has ruled that the inquest of Keroche Breweries heiress Tecra Mungai, who died in May after sustaining head injuries, will be heard in Nairobi.
While overruling a decision by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who wanted the inquest held in Lamu, a Nairobi magistrate said although Tecra sustained the injuries in the coastal town, she passed on in Nairobi while undergoing treatment.
“I have considered all the submissions by all the parties and I hereby dismiss Prosecution application”, ruled the Magistrate.
The DPP wanted the case transferred to Lamu saying the decision to hold the sittings in Nairobi by theDCI was not well thought out.
The move was been opposed by the family who stated that most of the witnesses are based in Nairobi.
Reports indicate that Tecra died after she fell from a staircase at a private house in Lamu Island, where she was staying with her boyfriend Omar Lali.
Mr Lali was arraigned before the High Court in Garsen High Court but the DPP withdrew the charges and ordered an inquest into the death of Tecra.
The DPP through Joseph Riungu said the proper place to handle the case was Lamu and it was within the DPP mandate to decide where it should be held.
Tecra’s mother Tabitha Karanja said a postmortem examination on the body revealed evidence that raised serious questions and doubts regarding the explanation given by the main suspect, Mr Lali.
She said Noor should, therefore cease from the matter and appoint an independent prosecutor to handle the case going forward. The family further opposes DPP’s plan to transfer the inquest from Milimani magistrate court to Lamu.
“We oppose the request by the DPP to withdraw the current inquest proceedings from this honourable court,” Karanja said.
She said the decision to withdraw the inquest from Nairobi came as an extreme shock to the family and the move by DPP was whimsical and arbitrary.
“That family of the deceased finds it hard to believe that it is a mere coincidence that there has been the foregoing flip-flopping on the part of the Director of Public Prosecutions evidenced by a decision to charge the key suspect with murder at Garsen Law Courts, followed by a near simultaneous recall of the said decision and the decision to institute the present inquest proceedings at Milimani Law Courts followed by a near simultaneous decision to withdraw the said inquest proceedings from the said courts,” she said.
Ms Karanja said the family no longer has confidence in the DPP handling the matter in strict compliance with the dictates of the constitution and the law.
She said the conduct of the DPP has left the family with many unanswered questions on what extrinsic interest that the DPP may have in the matter. “That the family of the deceased now strongly believes based on the foregoing conduct of the DPP that he is responding to instructions and or pressure from elsewhere to avoid bringing to account whoever may have been responsible for the death of Patricia Tecra Muigai,” she said in an affidavit.
She said Lali, who is a key suspect in the matter is an influential person among boat owners and operators and beach boys around Lamu Island.
She said that boat transport is the singular most reliable form of transport for accessing Lamu Island hence there is real and well-founded fear in the family that they may not travel to and from the Island to attend and participate in the inquest proceedings, without significant threat to their life and safety.