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Prosecution fails to prove case, two freed

By Erick Abuga | April 30th 2021

The 10-storey building collapsed in Kisii town on November 12, 2016, killing eight people.[File, Standard]

Two suspects charged with manslaughter in a case where a 10-storey building collapsed in Kisii killing eight people in November 2016 have been freed.

Jeremiah Matoke and Jeff Ocharo faced eight counts of manslaughter. They were accused that on November 10, 2016, at Kisii Municipality block 111/236 in Kisii town, they unlawfully and negligently caused the deaths of the eight people.

Kisii Chief Magistrate Nathan Lutta noted that in a criminal case, the duty was always on the prosecution to prove its case against an accused beyond a reasonable doubt.

“From the evidence produced in court, it is not demonstrated that the said parcel belongs to the accused,” Lutta said.

Patrick Achoki, the County Director of Physical Planning, said an inspection on the collapsed building was done in September 2014. At the time, Achoki said they did not have a record of approved buildings. “We requested the owner to submit the plans, which were later approved.”

The then National Construction Authority regional manager, Lucas Adwera, testified that they visited the site in July 2016 and found out that there was a lack of compliance and immediately issued a suspension notice.

The accused persons, however, denied the offences saying they were not the developers of the said property. With the ruling, the affected families will be forced to explore other means to get justice.

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