Court orders arrest of woman whose vehicle ferried Chiloba's body

Court orders arrest of Maureen Nabwire Oduori accused of evading summons in Chiloba murder. [Standard,File]

The High Court in Eldoret has issued a warrant of arrest against a motorist whose vehicle is believed to have been used to ferry the body of LGBTQ Activist Edwin Kiptoo, alias Chiloba.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi gave directions during the hearing of the murder case against key suspect Jackson Odhiambo alias Lizer.

The court noted that Maureen Nabwire Oduori has snubbed court summons and avoided driving her vehicle, Toyota Fielder, to the court, where it would be produced as an exhibit in the murder case.

According to Prosecution counsel Mark Mugun, Oduori has been deliberately switching off her phone whenever the court tries to reach her despite earlier filing documents requesting the release of her motor vehicle.

"The said person filed an application requesting that the court releases her motor vehicle in the agreement that she would produce the car whenever called upon to do so by this court. However, it turns out that this character has decided that she will not honour the pact that she made with this court,” Mugun told Justice Nyakundi.

 On Monday, two witnesses told the court how the accused planned to ferry and dispose of the body of the 26-year-old student and fashion model and made payments for every service he needed using the late Chiloba's M-pesa number.

 Francis Were, a taxi driver and an employee of Oduori, testified before Justice Nyakundi, that he had hired out the Toyota fielder car registration KCL 229L to Odhiambo, who was his childhood friend.

Were recounted that Odhiambo had asked to hire the car on January 3, claiming that he had a church function.

 He said after agreeing to rent out the vehicle at Sh3,500, Odhiambo paid him through M-pesa.

 “The M-pesa message showed that Edwin Kiptoo (the deceased) had sent the cash, and I joked with Odhiambo, asking him if he had changed his ethnicity. He told me that he had bought a new sim card and registered it using a friend's Identity Card (ID),” he said.

Were, however, recounted that when he returned the vehicle, it was stinking, and he promised to pay for the car wash fee.

 “I raised concern about the foul smell, and the accused told me that he had carried fish in the car, causing the bad smell,” he said.

 He said that he was shocked when he was later trailed by police officers from Langas Police Station over alleged links to a murder case.

 Another witness, Obadiah Ochieng', who operates a workshop in the outskirts of Eldoret town, recounted one morning when the accused visited his workplace in search of a metallic box.

Ochieng' said that he showed Odhiambo his wares, but he insisted that he wanted the biggest box.

 He told the court that he took his client to a nearby workshop that distributed some of his wares.

 “The shop was located barely 20 metres from my workshop, and when we got there, Odhiambo pointed at the biggest box, which was size 24. The box was painted dark green. I am the one who had made the box and sold it off to him at Sh7,500,” Ochieng' testified.

 Like in Were's case, Ochieng' said that the accused paid him via M- pesa. The Mpesa statement showed he received the said amount from Edwin Kiptoo.

Ochieng' recounted that after selling the box, he helped load it in the vehicle Odhiambo was driving.

"The boot of the car could not open, and I advised him to fold the back seats and place the box on it,” he said.

During the first hearing of the case, the court was told that Chiloba and Odhiambo were in a romantic relationship.

Witnesses who claimed to be friends of the deceased told the court that Chiloba was cohabiting with Odhiambo at an apartment in Chebisaas in the outskirts of Eldoret town.

Chiloba's decomposing body was found stashed in a metal box on the roadside along the Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road within the Kapseret sub-county in Uasin Gishu County on January 3.

A post-mortem report conducted by Government pathologist Johansen Oduor at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) revealed that Chiloba died of asphyxiation.

The hearing continues on Thursday.