How LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba’s phone transacted via MPESA ‘after his death’
A blacksmith who sold a metallic box that was reportedly used to ferry the body of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba has told an Eldoret court that the buyer, one Jackton Odhiambo, paid for the transaction via mobile money (MPESA).
Obadiah Ochieng told the court that Odhiambo was well known to him.
Mr Ochieng who operates a workshop in the outskirts of Eldoret town recounted one morning when the accused visited his workplace in search of a metallic box.
While testifying in the case, Mr Ochieng told the court that he showed Mr Odhiambo his wares consisting of a variety of beautiful boxes where he insisted that he wanted a larger metallic box.
Since Mr Ochieng did not have the metallic box required by his client he took him to a nearby workshop that distributed some of his wares.
Mr Ochieng told the court that upon reaching the workshop Odhiambo pointed at one of the biggest metallic boxes on the shelf.
“Odhiambo pointed at the biggest box. The box was painted dark green. I am the one who had made the box and I sold it to him at sh 7,500,” Mr Ochieng’ narrated to the court.
Mr Ochieng’ recounted that after selling the box to his client, he helped him load the box onto a car Odhiambo was driving.
Besides Ochieng, a taxi driver who drove the vehicle that was used to ferry the deceased body told the court that he too was paid via mobile money. He confessed to hiring the vehicle to Mr Odhiambo for self-drive.
All the two witnesses who testified before Justice Nyakundi recounted how the accused, who is also referred to as Lizer electronically paid them for their services
Francis Were, a taxi driver, stated that he hired a Toyota fielder car registration KCL 229L to Mr Odhiambo who was well known to him as he was his childhood friend.
Mr Were told the court that Mr Odhiambo, a well-known son of a local pastor in Eldoret town, had asked to hire his car on January 3, 2023, and told him that he had a church function to attend.
Mr Were told the court that they reached an agreement with his client who agreed to hire the car at Sh3,500.
He said upon reaching an agreement to hire out the vehicle Mr Odhiambo paid him the Sh3,500 through mobile money.
Incidentally, the mobile money message showed that he had received Sh3,500 from the deceased.
When he inquired about the name Edwin Kiptoo and not Jacktone Odhiambo, Mr Odhiambo told him that he had bought a new SIM card and registered it using his friend’s Identification card(ID).
“The M-pesa message indicated that Edwin Kiptoo had sent the cash and I joked with Odhiambo asking him if he had changed his ethnicity. He told me that he had bought a new sim card and registered it using a friend’s Identity Card (ID),” he clarified.
Mr Were further told the court that when Mr Odhiambo returned the vehicle, it was stinking with a pungent smell, however, he promised to pay for car wash charges.
He told the court that Mr Odhiambo told him not to worry about the smell since he had carried fish in the car which resulted in the smell.
“I asked about the foul smell and the accused answered that he had carried fish in the car causing the bad smell,” Mr Were told the court, parked with a big crowd with the majority of them suspected to be members of LGBTQ.
The court heard that later on Mr Were was arrested by police officers on allegations of being an accomplice in the murder of the LGBTQ activist.
During the hearing on November 21, 2023, all the witnesses implicated the key suspect in the murder of the gay activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba claimed he had an elaborate plan to ferry and dispose of the body of the 26-year-old fashion and design student at the University of Eldoret in January 2023.
And in a related development, the Court has issued a warrant of arrest against Mr Were’s employer Maureen Nabwire whose vehicle is believed to have been used to ferry the body of the slain Activist before his body was found dumped in Kapseret Sub County at the outskirts of Eldoret town.
The orders to issue a warrant of arrest came after the state counsel, Mark Mugun pointed out that Ms Nabwire has been ignoring court summons to appear in court and produce the car as exhibits in the matter.
Mr Odhiambo is charged with killing Mr Chiloba between December 31, 2022, and January 3, 2023 at Noble Breeze Apartment in Chebisaas area within Moiben Sub County.
Chiloba’s body was found stuffed in a metal box along Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road in Mukombet village in Uasin Gishu County on January 4, 2023.
The incident attracted global attention, with US State Department spokesperson Ned Price challenging the Kenyan government to speed up investigations and charge all involved accordingly.
From the onset of the case, the state had aligned up 26 witnesses in the matter which has been termed as a case of circumstantial evidence by a state counsel, Mark Mugun.
“This is a case of circumstantial evidence and we intend to bring 26 witnesses in the trial case since all evidence links the suspect to the brutal killing of the slain university student and fashion model,” Mr Mugun told the court, during prior hearing.