Boda boda chairman handed 20 years for inciting fellow riders to murder suspected thief

Moses Ambwoto, a boda boda operators’ association chairman in Butere sub-county, who has been convicted for murder. [Duncan Ocholla, Standard]

A chairman of boda boda operators from Butere Sub-county has been slapped with a 20-years imprisonment for inciting fellow riders to murder a suspected motorcycle thief.

In his judgement, High Court Judge Jesse Njagi said the prosecution had placed the accused at the scene of crime who was the cheerleader of the attackers.

He said that through the accused person’s actions, a life was lost in the hands of angry mob justice.

Moses Ambwoto was charged with the murder of Abdalla Wesamba on July 25, 2012 at Shibunje Village, Butere sub-county.

He was first convicted by Judge Ruth Sitati before the file was handed to another judicial officer after Justice Sitati was transferred to Kapenguria High Court.

The trial Judge said the prosecution had proven a case against the accused to the required standard of proof through five witnesses who were called upon to testify.

The court was told the accused led other boda boda operators to assault the deceased on allegations he had stolen a motorbike belonging to one, Jackson Andayi.

Ambwoto was in the company of Rajab Moi Osanya who were together charged with the murder of Wesamba though Moi died while the trial was ongoing.

Bakari Makhokha, a brother to the deceased told the court that he was lured to call the deceased to Tavern Bar.

Unsuspicious of any planned attack, Wesamba went to the said joint where he met his brother, Moi and Ambwoto.

However, the two riders whisked the deceased into a waiting motorcycle in the full view of his brother.

On seeing things were getting out of hand, Bakari called other family members telling them the ordeal.

The two went to the deceased’s house where they met his sister Zaituna Makokha and started demanding that he produces the lost motorcycle or else face the wrath of other boda boda operators.

Zaituna told the court over 20 other riders came to the scene and started assaulting the deceased using metal bars and cut on the forehead with an axe before he was lynched leading to his death.

She said that attempts to deny being behind the theft fell on deaf years as his house was also set ablaze after he died.

Doctor Duncan Oluoch who conducted the autopsy at St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Mumias confirmed the deceased had third degree burns and multiple cut wounds on her head and limbs.

He formed the opinion that the cause of death was severe head injury with hemorrhagic shock.

In her verdict led by Judge Jesse Njagi, Justice Sitati noted that, evidence of identification placed the accused at the scene since they were seen by Bakari and Zaituna.

She maintained the actions of taking the deceased away to his home was to execute a mob justice unless he produced the lost motorcycle.

The trial Judge noted that being in charge of his members the accused should have known that the commission of the offence of assault would be a probable consequence of death.

Justice Sitati contended that there is no doubt the intention was either to kill or cause grievous harm.

She dismissed Ambwoto’s defence that he was not at the scene of crime saying the claims never introduced any doubt in her mind.

“I am satisfied that he committed the offence of murder jointly with others, not before the court and is hereby convicted,” said Justice Sitati.

Through lawyer Musa Nandwa, the accused sought for lenient sentence saying he is a father of a young family of three aged between eight months and three years.

He affirmed that he was suffering for other people’s wrongdoing urging the court to spare him.

He was handed the 20 years sentence with a 14 days window to lodge an appeal if he’s aggrieved with the sentence.

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Kapenguria High CourtBoda Boda OperatorsMotorbike Theft