Why DPP wants inquest into Mercy Keino death reopened
Crucial evidence relating to the mysterious death of university student Mercy Keino was tampered with at a police station, a Nairobi court was told on Tuesday.
In light of the new twist in the case, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, now wants an inquest to establish the circumstances under which the student died reopened, said prosecutor Moses Omirera.
The prosecutor was referring to a compact disk that was part of a CCTV capture of the events that unfolded at Wasini Apartments on the night that Ms Keino died, but which cannot be traced.
However, before the inquest can be reopened, the application will have to be canvassed before the magistrate who handled the inquest, Mr Peter Ndwiga, who has since been transferred from Nairobi.
Chief magistrate Daniel Ogembo on Tuesday granted an order to recall the magistrate on December 11 to determine the DPP’s application.
The hearing of the inquest into the death of the University of Nairobi student had been concluded and was just awaiting a ruling.
“I had told the court that an exhibit had been interfered with. We request your honour to direct that the magistrate comes back for necessary orders regarding reopening of this inquest,” Mr Omirera said.
Ms Keino’s disfigured body was found on Waiyaki Way, Nairobi, two years ago, hours after she attended a party hosted by Mr William Kabogo — now the Kiambu governor — at the Wasini Luxury Suites.
Several witnesses testified during the inquest, among them Mr Kabogo, then an MP.
Mr Kabogo was alleged to have slapped Ms Keino before she stormed out of the party and was later found dead.
In his testimony, Mr Kabogo denied assaulting Ms Keino, saying he did not understand why some witnesses had made the allegation. He said bringing up his name in the case was politically motivated.
Mr Kabogo said although he got annoyed at Ms Keino’s misbehaviour after she became drunk, he did not assault her and only held her on the shoulders before asking her friend to take her away.
The chief government pathologist, Dr Johansen Oduor, who conducted a postmortem examination on the body, testified that it was difficult to determine what killed Ms Keino because of the multiple fractures she had suffered.
According to him, the autopsy could not ascertain whether Ms Keino was killed elsewhere and her body dumped on the road or whether she was hit and run over by a vehicle.
The DPP had ordered a public inquest after police investigations failed to establish the truth behind her mysterious death.
In subsequent hearings, CCTV captures of the events at Wasini were presented in court before the prosecutor protested that the investigating officer was playing the wrong CDs.
In one of the CDs, two men are seen dragging an unidentified woman up a flight of stairs as she attempts to kick away to free herself but then suddenly blurs out.
Mr Cliff Ombeta, a lawyer who has been representing parties adversely mentioned in the inquest, on Tuesday objected to Mr Omirera’s application to reopen the inquest.
He said that “if evidence was interfered with at a police station”, it had nothing to do with his clients.
Mr Omirera presented a court order issued on July 9 before the presiding magistrate where parties had agreed on consent that the officer in charge of Cyber Crime Unit at DCI headquarters “do examine the hard disk marked as exhibit 5 and confirm its authenticity following which he is to make four copies of the CD and prepare a certificate.”