Kenya: Lawyer Wajackoyah's Escape From Kenya Amid Robert Ouko Murder Probe

19 January 2021

Lawyer George Wajackoyah admitted in court on Monday that he fled the country because he was a person of interest in the murder of Cabinet Minister Robert Ouko 31 years ago.

Prof Wajackoyah testified in the Sh20 billion Kihingo Village ownership dispute between former Tetu MP James Ndung'u Gethenji and his elder brother Fredrick Gitahi. He is representing Mr Gitahi.

The lawyer told Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku that he fled to Britain and the US while the murder was being investigated.

Cross-examined by lawyers Willis Otieno and Ishmael Nyaribo for Mr Gethenji, who is the chair of Kihingo Village Waridi Gardens Limited, he said that when Ouko was killed and his charred remains recovered at Got Alila in Kisumu, he was a police officer.

He disclosed that before becoming a law professor, he was a street boy, grave digger, a "hustler" and a policeman.

Answering questions about being sought over the murder, Prof Wajackoyah did not elaborate but said he was a person of interest while serving as a police officer during President Daniel arap Moi's era.

The lawyer said that while in exile, he studied and practised law in Britain and in the United States, where he has established law firms.

Mr Nyaribo asked: "When were you admitted into the Roll of Advocates in Kenya?"

"I was admitted in 2016," he said.

Assault case

The protracted property ownership dispute between the brothers has resulted in criminal and civil litigation.

Prof Wajackoyah also told the court about a case in which Mr Gethenji and six others are charged with creating disturbance, assault and malicious damage to property.

He said he was beaten by at least five men int Kihingo Village where he had been called by Mr Gitahi and that he was attacked alongside house owner Kishorkumar Varsan Dhanji on July 2, 2019.

The accused earlier denied the assault charges and were released on a Sh20,000 cash bail each.

Regarding Mr Gethenji and Kihingo Village co-director Chacha Mabanga's involvement in the assault, the lawyer said they were not among those who attacked him and Mr Dhanji.

He identified five suspects in court as his attackers.

Lawyer sacked

In the heat of the cross-examination, Prof Wajackoyah sacked on the spot a lawyer identified only as Mr Ikua for failing to protect him when he was being cross-examined intensely by Mr Nyaribo.

"You stand sacked. Leave. You cannot sit there and watch when I am being intensely grilled by defence lawyers instead of protecting me," he told the lawyer.

However, Ms Mutuku intervened and asked Mr Ikua to sit through the case.

"You have my permission," she said, but Mr Ikua walked out after a short while.

Mr Nyaribo had accused Prof Wajackoya of going into combat mode to fight the attackers instead of involving police.

Prof Wajackoyah said he reported the matter at Gigiri and Nairobi Area but denied he also called the disbanded Flying Squad.

"The OCS Gigiri drove into Kihingo but he ignored me. He walked away. I also called the Deputy DCIO Gigiri and reported the incident to him," he said.

Mr Otieno asked Prof Wajackoyah whether he knew Mr Gitahi whom he claimed was a director of Kihingo but resigned in 2011.

He said he did not know the terms given to those who bought houses in the village.

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