DPP:No sufficient evidence to charge suspect in death of Keroche family kin with murder

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja at Milimani Law Courts at an earlier date. Photo/Sam Alfan

The Director of Public Prosecution has defendedhis decision to drop murder charges against the suspect in the death of Keroche breweries bosses’ daughter Patricia Tecra Mungai.

DPP Noordin Haji says that there was no sufficient evidence to sustain the murder charge against Omar Lari and an inquest was the best option, to establish who caused the death of the deceased contrart to allegation of foul play by the family of the deceased.

There is no evidence express or manifest that has been tendered to show that the suspect or any other person has intention of causing any harm to the deponent’s family. In the absence thereof, the deponent cannot make such grave allegations,” said the DPP.

He added that initially, a decision to charge the suspect with murder was made and upon review of the file, he established that there was insufficient evidence to support the case, hence the matter was withdrawn under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Responding to claims that Omar rules Lamu Island, boat owners, owns a boat and thus has influence on the island and a threat to security of the family and witnesses, the DPP said no evidence has been furnished to that effect and the family should strictly prove the claims.

The DPP has also added the decision to withdraw the inquest proceedings from Nairobi’s Milimani Chief Magistrate court in preference for Lamu court was made after review of the file based on the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.

Haji added that he does not require the consent of any person or authority to commence criminal proceedings and in the exercise of powers or function, he is not under the direction or control of any person or authority adding that there has been no evidence adduced to show that any of his officers have been compromised. 

According to the DPP, all the critical witnesses reside in Lamu and should the case be instituted in Nairobi, they would be gravely inconvenienced.

“The key evidence and the principal witnesses are based in Lamu therefore the evidence collected in Nairobi cannot unravel the mystery of death of the deceased. No investigations were done in Nairobi other than the postmortem examination. If the inquest were to be conducted in Nairobi, it would only serve to inconvenience the said witnesses to the detriment of achieving justice for all,” states the DPP.

The deceased’s mother Tabitha Karanja had told the court that her family had lost confidence in the DPP after he dropped the murder charge against Omar and also abruptly withdrew the inquest at Milimani Law courts to Lamu.

Karanja had argued that out of the 25 witnesses for the prosecution 21 are based in Nairobi and Naivasha and only fourt are based in Lamu therefore it would be prudent to have the matter in Nairobi rather than Lamu.

According to her, her daughter’s death was not accidental and there is enough evidence to charge Omar with murder.