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Baringo family demands justice for fraud suspect who died in custody

Did he deserve to die?

A family in Baringo is demanding justice following the death of their kin who was recently arrested and reportedly fell ill while in custody.

Hosea Ngetich recently breathed his last at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi.

He was reportedly admitted to the facility after his health deteriorated.

“He was in good health at the time he was arrested and taken to Nairobi. We want to know what happened until his health deteriorated to the point that he was frail and had physical injuries that he could not identify anyone?” questioned Peter Kiyeng, brother to the deceased.

Mr Ngetich together with one Elizabeth Sote Chesang, a former Kabartonjo Ward Councillor, were accused of irregularly subdividing and selling an Sh26.5 billion city farm. Mrs Chesang is currently detained at the Lang’ata Women’s Prison.

The two were accused of defrauding a city businessman namely Kiptoo arap Chepkalum of over Sh6.5 million while claiming they were in a position to sell land owned by Joshua Kulei, a former aide to the late President Daniel arap Moi.

According to court documents, the deceased was accused on diverse dates between May and October 2021, within Nairobi county with intent to defraud, obtained Sh1.4 million from the complaint by falsely pretending that he was position to facilitate subdivision and transfer of a portion of land measuring 89.4 Hectares.

The deceased was arrested on February 11, 2023, at his home in Kabariot village adjacent to Lake Kamnarok and reportedly asked to leave behind his mobile phone. He was bundled into a waiting car.

“Those who were there say officers who picked him identified themselves as those attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). We later learned the police officers were from Barwesa police station,” stated Justus Kieng, brother of the deceased.

After inquiries, the family said that they learnt that their kin had been arrested and taken to Muthaiga police Station.

On February 13, 2023, he was taken to court but the next of kin was not informed. It is only when he returned to court the following day that the family was informed.

“I managed to talk to him but he looked very sick and weak, and was talking in a low tone. During the court session, the court ordered that he be taken to Mbagathi Hospital to receive treatment and be brought back on February 20, 2023, since he was not able to take a plea,” recalls Mr Kiyeng, adding that on February 20, he was not brought to court.

On February 21, 2023, the family visited Muthaiga police station and noticed that he had some head injuries, was not talking properly, was not able to recognize anyone not able to stand up. They realized the deceased had not been referred to any public health facility.

“I engaged the Muthaiga Officer Commanding Station (OCS) about the matter and referred us to DCI. He said that there are some procedures that ought to be followed . . . later, that day, three officers accompanied us and we took him to the MSF clinic who later referred us to Mama Lucy Hospital,” recounts Mr Kiyeng.

On March 22, 2023, he was taken back to court to plead to the charges. But the court ordered that he be taken to hospital. He was taken to Industrial Area remand and on February March 23, 2023, he was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where they performed a head CT Scan.

“The doctor referred us to a neurosurgeon who performed tests and informed us that there were brain and spine injuries. On April 5, 2023, he passed away,” said Mr Kiyeng.

He told Nairobi News that the family was not informed or aware of the accusations of the offence till the day he was arraigned in court.

“We understand that everyone has their rights including the complainant who deserves justice but that should not mean that he is hurt to the point of losing his life because he was physically assaulted according to the medical reports,” notes Justus Kieng.

The family has lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) into the matter on March 27.

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