Court orders car owner's arrest over death of LGBTQ activist


The High Court in Eldoret has issued a warrant of arrest against a car owner whose vehicle is believed to have been used to ferry the body of slain LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi gave directions during the hearing of the murder case against key suspect Jackson Odhiambo alias Lizer.

The court noted that Maureen Nabwire Oduori had snubbed court summons on various occasions and avoided driving her Toyota Fielder car to the court where it would be produced as an exhibit in the murder case. 

According to prosecution counsel Mark Mugun, Oduori has been deliberately switching off her phone whenever the court tries to reach her despite earlier filing documents in court requesting for the release of her motor vehicle. 

“The said person filed an application requesting that the court release her motor vehicle in the agreement that she would produce the car whenever called upon to do so by this court. However, it turns out that this character has decided that she will not honour the pact that she made with this court,” Mugun told Justice Nyakundi. On Monday, two witnesses told the court how the accused planned to ferry and dispose of the body of the 26-year-old slain student and fashion model and made payments for every service using the late Chiloba’s M-pesa number.

Francis Were, a taxi driver and an employee of Oduori, testified before Justice Nyakundi, stating that he had hired out the Toyota Fielder registration KCL 229L to Odhiambo, who was well known to him as he was his childhood friend. 

Were recounted that Odhiambo had asked to hire the car on January 3, this year, claiming that he had a church function to attend to. 

He said that on reaching an agreement that he would hire out the vehicle for Sh3,500, Odhiambo paid him through M-pesa.

“The M-pesa message showed that Edwin Kiptoo (the deceased) 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) number,” he explained.

Were, however, recounted that when Odhiambo returned the vehicle, it was stinking, and he promised to pay his car wash charges. 

“I asked about the foul smell and the accused answered that he had carried fish in the car,” Were disclosed. 

He said that he was shocked when he was later trailed by police officers from Langas Police Station on allegations of helping out in a murder incident. 

Another witness, Obadiah Ochieng’, who operates a workshop on the outskirts of Eldoret town, recounted one morning when the accused visited his workplace in search of a metal box.

Ochieng’ said he showed Odhiambo his wares, but he insisted that he wanted a larger box.

He told the court that he then took his client to a nearby workshop that distributed some of his wares.

“The shop was located barely 20 metres from my workshop and when we got there, Odhiambo pointed at the biggest box which was size 24. The box was painted dark green. I am the one who had made the box and sold it off to him at Sh7,500,” Ochieng’ testified.

Like in Were’s case, Ochieng’ said the accused paid him via M-pesa. The M-pesa statement showed he received the said amount from Edwin Kiptoo.

During the first hearing of the case, the court was told that Chiloba and Odhiambo were in a romantic relationship.

Witnesses who claimed to be friends of the deceased told the court that Chiloba was cohabiting with Odhiambo at an apartment in Chebisaas on the outskirts of Eldoret town.

Chiloba’s decomposing body was found stashed in a metal box on the roadside along the Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road in Uasin Gishu County on January 3.

Post-mortem report conducted by Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital revealed that Chiloba died of asphyxiation (lack of oxygen).

Hearing continues on Thursday.


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