Former governor's murder trial reveals love secrets, lavish lifestyle

Former Migori governor Okoth Obado at a Milimani court on Thursday, July 21, 2022, during the hearing of a case where he is charged with the killing of university student Sharon Otieno and her unborn child. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The trial of former Migori Governor Okoth Obado over the murder of Sharon Otieno entered the homestretch, with new revelations by witnesses during the week-long hearings.

A lineup of witnesses opened a Pandora's Box on the late university student’s lifestyle and attempts by the former governor to help her.

The fresh intrigues were characterised by former Kanyandoto MCA Lawrence Mula disowning part of his statement implicating Obado, his co-accused Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero.

Almost five years after the three accused were charged, in September 2018, with the murder of Sharon and her unborn baby, the prosecution presented its 30th witness, with only five out of 35 witnesses remaining.

The prosecution, led by Ms Wangui Gichuhi, was on their best foot to bring out from the witnesses what happened prior to Sharon’s death on the night she was killed, and after the fatal incident to unravel the puzzle of her death.

Interrogate each allegation

Defence lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Rodgers Sagana, representing Obado, lawyer Ogada Meso representing Oyamo, and Elisha Ongoya representing Obiero, were equally up to the task to interrogate each allegation raised by the witnesses.

Mula, who had also been arrested in connection with Sharon’s murder, was the prosecution’s star witness of the week, taking three days on the dock for his evidence and cross-examination.

In his testimony that lifted the lid on the intrigues of events after Sharon’s death, he disowned part of his statement saying it was written for him.

“I only stand with the testimony I have given in court and not the statement I was told to sign while at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi. I could not even read the statement at the time since I was worried after being suspected as one of the killers,” said Mula.

According to Mula, he recorded his statement while in custody at Homa Bay Police Station in September 2018, but when he was taken to the DCI headquarters, he was presented with another typed statement which he said he was forced to sign under duress.

Treated the lady well

Mula testified that he believed Obado could have had no intention of eliminating Sharon since he treated the lady well by catering for all her needs.

“The way things were moving between Obado and Sharon was so well that no one could think of killing her. I could not suspect that Obado or his personal assistant Michael Oyamo could have any intention of killing Sharon,” said Mula.

He however stated that Obado was concerned by the high demands by Sharon and an extortionist bid she had hatched with a journalist.

He testified that Sharon demanded a lavish lifestyle including a house worth Sh25 million, a car and Sh5 million for her upkeep in exchange for her silence over the affair, and that at one point she insisted in attending her clinics at Nairobi Hospital.

Mula said he was the middle man in the ex-governor and Sharon’s squabbles before she started the blackmail and extortion, but he facilitated a truce between them in which Obado agreed to purchase Sharon a plot of land and build her a house.

Mr Lawrence Mula, the former Kanyandoto Member of the County Assembly, in Migori County. [File, Standard]

Then came the late Sharon’s mother, Melinda Auma, who admitted that her daughter had multiple affairs even before meeting the ex-governor, who she said was not the only man in her life while studying at Rongo University.

“She broke up with her husband of four years after the man prioritised paying her dowry instead of paying her university school fees,” said Auma.

Auma said that she welcomed Sharon back home after the breakup, where she stayed with the family until March 2018 when Auma noticed her daughter was pregnant again.

She said Sharon appeared stressed and when she asked her who was responsible for the pregnancy, her daughter said it was Obado.

“She was stressed and depressed and when I asked her, she told me there was a communication breakdown between her and Obado after he had impregnated her. She almost miscarried the baby but I took her to hospital and the pregnancy was saved,” said Auma.

Denied the pregnancy

Mula in his evidence had stated that Oabdo had also not denied the pregnancy and had agreed to take care of the baby once born.

Another witness, Kennedy Kasera, said he could not link Obado, Oyamo and Obiero to the murder of Sharon and her unborn baby since he was only relying on information from a protected witness who sought refuge at his home after escaping from his abductors.

Kasera said on September 3, 2018 he was at his home located along the Homa Bay-Kendu Bay road when he heard screams from a stranger outside his door and when he opened, the stranger went straight to his bedroom to hide himself.

According to Kasera, the stranger said that he and Sharon had gone to a hotel in Rongo town to meet Oyamo, after which they were abducted by people who threatened to harm them.

He however stated that the protected witness who sought refuge at his home did not mention Obado in connection with the abduction.

“He only told me that the PA had entered the same vehicle with them but alighted after 200 metres before they were joined by two other men who ordered them to remove everything they had,” said Kasera.

Jumped out

The stranger told him that when they reached Kadel Area near Kendu Bay, he noticed that the car door was not locked and he jumped out because he feared for his life.

“I did not even know who was killed after he explained to me the ordeal, and I only came to learn later that it was the lady called Sharon. I only took him to the (Kadel) police station and left him there until some police officer came to my home two days later to record my statement,” said Kasera.

Another witness, Victor Onyango, who is Sharon’s uncle, testified that he was only called to identify the body after the murder. Noah Odoyo, also a witness, testified that he sold an Airtel line which was allegedly used to communicate during the murder, but he could not tell who registered it.

The hearing is scheduled to continue for four days next week when the prosecution is expected to present the five remaining witnesses and close the case.

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