Bus crash suspects yet to know fate

Benard Shitiabayi, the manager of the Western Crossroads Sacco (left) and Cleophas Shimanyula, the owner of the bus that crashed and killed 56 people. They appeared at Molo Law Courts on October 11,2018. [Photo: Courtesy]

Two suspects being held in connection with the Fort Ternan accident will today know whether they will remain in police custody.

Officers investigating the accident that claimed more than 50 lives yesterday asked a Molo court to allow them to detain the owner of the ill-fated bus, Bernard Ishindu, and the director of Western Cross Express Company Ltd, Cleophas Shimanyula, for seven days.

Chief Magistrate Samuel Wahome, however, slated the application for today.

"It is not possible for me to deliver the ruling immediately. I have to consider the arguments by the defence lawyers and the prosecution; this a matter of public interest."

He ordered the suspects to be held at Londiani Police Station pending his ruling.

In the application, Chief Inspector Festus Ondieki, who is in charge of the traffic department at Londiani Police Station, said Ishindu and Shimanyula, being agents of the bus and company, failed to keep records of the driver and conductor who operated the bus at the time of the accident.

This, Ondieki argued, contravened the Traffic Act.

The officer said the two may interfere with the ongoing investigations if released, adding that police `had yet to get more details about the bus and the company.

"I pray I be allowed to hold the suspects for seven days so that I may contact the National Transport and Safety Authority for records of the bus company and the company it operated under," he said.

But lawyers Ken Ochieng' and Samba George, representing the two suspects, opposed the application, saying their clients were entitled to their freedom.

Mr Samba said Ishindu and Shimanyula were not in control of the vehicle, adding that they should not be punished for being the owner and director of the bus company.

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Western Crossroads SaccoFort Ternan accidentWestern Cross Express Company Ltd