20 November 2012

Kenya: Saitoti Lawyer Questions Witness Account of Chopper Crash

The family of the late Internal Security minister George Saitoti yesterday questioned evidence by a witness that he was near when the police chopper crashed killing the minister and five other people.

Saitoti's family lawyer Fredrick Ngatia questioned evidence by Richard Harney, a lawyer who lives in Karen, that he heard the aircraft flying low as if the pilot was looking for a place to land.

Harney told the commission that on the morning of June 10, he was cycling in the neighbourhood as he always does when he heard the unusual sound of the aircraft.

He said the chopper was flying slowly but he cpold not see it because of the cloud cover. He said he was cycling on the flight path because the chopper nearly landed on his head.

Ngatia questioned why Harvey presented himself to the commission at a late stage of investigations. In response, Harvey said he spoke with an Italian pilot and an helicopter owner who encouraged him to talk to KCAA officials about his evidence.

Harvey said he was able to see the second police helicopter that went for a search mission because the cloud had lifted up. "Fair enough, it's a coincidence that clouds always lifts up," said Ngatia.

Ngatia's line of cross examination nearly forced the commission to adjourn. The commission hearings resume this morning with a witness from Saitoti's family expected to testify. Ngatia said the witness, who is a doctor, arrived in the country yesterday morning and is expected to produce medical reports.

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