Five suspects face extradition over murder of Ugandan doctor

The doctor's body was found in an unmarked grave along Isiukhu stream in Kenya's Malava constituency 140 kilometres away from his hometown of Mbale, Uganda. 

The High Court in Kakamega has granted an application by the State to postpone the hearing of a murder case of the late Ugandan Dr Gideon Wamasebu, so as to allow the extradition of five suspects from Uganda to Kenya.

The court also granted Sh1 million bond to another suspect Kelvin Shatome, who had been detained at Kakamega Main Prison Remand since February last year.

“The case is adjourned for the last time to allow the extradition process to take effect as stated by the prosecution. The case will be heard on June 10 to June 12, 2024 as it has taken over one year to have the matter heard,” said Justice Patrick Otieno on Tuesday.

The court fixed the three-day marathon hearing to make it convenient for the bulk of witnesses who come from Uganda.

The prosecution had initially taken the hard decision to proceed with the case in the absence of the five suspects but changed course midway.

“We had initiated the extradition process so that Shatome would be charged jointly with the five co-accused but it was not successful. We are however delighted to report that the Uganda authorities have just assured us that the five will be in the country in two weeks to face justice for the murder,” said State lawyer Natasha Chala.

“Rather than continue with the case with a single accused person (Shatome), we pray that the case be adjourned so that the trial goes on with the six in the dock," Chala said.

The co-accused held in Uganda prisons are Kennedy Murambafu, Robert Chatome, Saleh Sulaiman, Brian Nsubuga and Ester Lauren. 

Shatome's lawyer Victor Osango, did not object to the adjournment but said his client had spent more than one year in remand without bond yet it is guaranteed by the Constitution.

“Bond is a constitutional requirement, my client is a first time offender and is not a flight risk. He was initially denied bond but we pray you review the orders,” he said.

This prompted the court to grant bond to Shatome but with strict terms.

The prosecution had argued that since the self-proclaimed medicine man had two abodes where he ran his ‘healing sessions’ in Mbale, Uganda and Malava, Kenya, he was a potential flight risk who should be held behind bars during trial.

Chala, gave the case summary before the court saying the decorated Ugandan doctor aged 62, traveled to the country in February last year to seek medical assistance only to meet his death in the hands of the 23-year-old self-proclaimed healer. 

“The doctor had presented himself as having various challenges including swollen feet, high blood pressure and his wife at the time had a stroke,” she said. 

“The doctor also wanted to secure prosperity in life as the accused portrayed himself as one who could help him out,” she added.

Chala claimed that Shatome would extort as much money as he wished during the ‘healing’ rituals and considered the doctor his esteemed client. 

But, according to the prosecution, it reached a point where Wamasebu's health was not improving and he decided to cut ties with the ‘healer.’

“When the accused realised that, he kidnapped the doctor and decided to contact his family to pay ransom for his release. He demanded a motor vehicle, three cows and title deeds of property of the doctor,” she claimed. 

Chala told the court that the family of the doctor then reported to the police in Uganda and efforts to rescue him started spreading all the way to Kenya where his body was found buried in a shallow grave along River Isiukhu. 

Wamasebu had traveled from Uganda on February 6, 2023 and his body was discovered in Kenya on February 13.

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