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BBC journalist testifies in child trafficking scam

A journalist attached to an international media house has testified how he exposed a child trafficking scam at the Mama Lucy Hospital in Nairobi in 2020.

Mr. Peter Murimi Magaka, 42, of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) who testified virtually, explained how a social worker at the hospital, one Fred Leparan, sold a baby boy to a childless woman at Sh300,000.

Milimani senior principal magistrate Esther Kimilu heard the child was disguised and that he was being taken to Imani Children’s Home for upkeep alongside two others.

The three children had been abandoned at the hospital.

Magaka who was testifying in a child trafficking case against social workers Fred Leparan and Selina Adundo charged with trafficking three children was cross-examined by defence lawyer Danstan Omari but did not cede his ground on the scam.

Magaka told the magistrate three children who had been abandoned by their mothers were taken into the health facility for treatment and care.

The BBC reporter who prepared a video clip covering the illegal sale of babies at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital played it before Ms Kimilu.

In the video, Leparan is seen going into the hospital and then coming out to meet the childless woman who is then handed over the baby by a nurse and drives off.

The deal of the alleged child theft was sealed after meetings with the journalist, contact, and Leparan.

“Leparan met our source who was in the company of a whistle-blower journalist on April 4, 2020, at Embakasi in Nairobi. Our source told him that there was a lady who was offering a sum of Sh300,000 to get a child,” Ms Kimilu heard.

The magistrate heard Fred received and pocketed three bundles of Sh100,000 each from the buyers for selling the child.

The childless woman told Fred that she had lived with her Dubai-based husband for a long time but their marriage union “had nothing forthcoming in terms of siring a child.”

The magistrate heard Leparan asked whether the childless couple had tried adoption then replied “they thought about it is complicated.”

Before handing over the baby boy to the woman, Leparan reportedly asked the woman the gender she preferred. She replied gender did not matter.

Leparan was asked by the BBC contact whether the child was healthy and he replied it was, thus “confirming his intention to steal and sell the child.”

The magistrate heard Leparan had cautioned the contact and the buyer to be very careful since “it was very risky to do this and we do not want our lives ruined.”

The court heard that Leparan had asked the contact to keep the deal between the “three of us me (fred), you (woman) and him (magaka).”

Ms Kimilu heard, Leparan’s main worry was trusting someone as he contented “it is very risky. It worries me a lot.”

Ms Kimilu heard it was confirmed to Fred the conduct and the purchaser were trusted persons who were not out “to set him up”.

Hearing continues.

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