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I dug into pit latrine to retrieve evidence, employee tells court

By Robert Amalemba | July 25th 2021

Benjamin Were (in black shirt) testified during an open court session at Malava police station in Kakamega County. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

How far can one go for the love of his job or even for his company? The answer to the question could as well lie in a testimony of a transport manager who narrated how he dug into a pit latrine to retrieve exhibits.

Benjamin Were Friday, took a Butali Senior Principal Magistrate’s court through the detailed process of how he brought down a pit latrine to extract an insurance sticker and a number plate in Malava Sub-county, Kakamega back in 2018.

The two items according to Mr Were were “very key” in prosecuting a theft case where three former workers of West Kenya Sugar Company are charged with stealing a trailer from the company’s packing yard.

“The trailer was kept at a bushy secluded home in Mting’ong’o, Chemuche Ward, Malava Sub-county. The trailer’s chassis number had been scraped off by some five young men who took off when a colleague and I accosted them refurbishing the trailer which had been reported missing,” he said.

He went on: “I reasoned that to prosecute the case without the supporting identities of the trailer since its chassis number was scrapped off would be troublesome. Two metres from where the trailer was stationed sat a mud-walled pit latrine, out of curiosity I peeped in it and saw something glittering.”

The thing which was glittering, Mugoya told the court, resembled a vehicle insurance sticker. He then thought that the five men who were refurbishing the trailer could have dumped the sticker in the latrine together with the trailer’s missing number plate.

He called backup from police in Shambere police post and Malava Police Station who advised that the pit latrine be brought down and when they demolished it someone had to get into the filthy mess to retrieve the sticker.

“It was a tough exercise but I managed to get the sticker and with the help of another volunteer we managed to dig in the mess and also retrieve the number plate which had sunk under the waste,” he said to the amazement of the court.

You look very clean, do you mean you can risk that much? The court questioned out of curiosity. “Yes the company has been losing trailers and it has always been painful when find suspects they get off for lack of sufficient evidence. I had to go the extra mile to get everything together to help us win this particular case and stem rampant trailer theft at the firm.”

The Senior Principal Zachaeus Nyakundi also asked the transport manager whether what he retrieved from the latrine was what was before the court as exhibit and with nostalgia he said, “This is it, your honour, there is the sticker and this is the number plate of the stolen trailer ZD 6379.”

The firm’s deputy security manager David Mugoya corroborated the testimony adding that in the home where the trailer was found they also recovered three tyres which were the property of the company. They also recovered another trailer at a neighbouring home suspected to have been stolen from the company on another date.

“The trailer that was being refurbished after being reported missing at the company’s parking yard on September 16, 2018, was last driven out by the second accused person.

In the case, Peter Umbuka Muyuka, Patrick Chisutia and Seth Wanjala Liboyi have been charged with stealing the trailer registration number ZB6379 valued at 456,651 on September 16, 2018.

The prosecutor in the case Victor Ongeyo asked the court to adjourn the case so that he could prepare more witnesses to testify against the three former West Kenya Sugar workers.

The magistrate, Nyakundi allowed the application by the prosecutor and moved the case to December 14, 2021.

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