Autopsy on Meshack Yebei's body set for Friday in Voi

VOI: Chief Government Pathologist Johanssen Oduor will lead the postmortem examination on the body of the murdered man said to be an International Criminal Court (ICC) witness.

The body of Meshack Yebei, whom Deputy President William Ruto's lawyer said was a critical defence witness at The Hague-based court, is lying at the Voi mortuary. Yebei had been missing for months.

Officials in Voi said Yebei's family had been invited to bring in a pathologist to participate in the examination. But Yebei's family claimed the Government has not informed it about today's autopsy.

Voi County Hospital Superintendent Abel Mwenja confirmed yesterday that the postmortem examination will be conducted today at the facility, ending speculation that the deceased's family had planned to perform the autopsy in Eldoret after airlifting the corpse through Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Dr Mwenja spoke amid reports that police had declined to allow Yebei's family to transport the body from the Voi mortuary before the postmortem examination.

Yebei's remains have been lying at the mortuary since December 30, last year, according to police records which also indicate that CID detectives from Nairobi took fingerprints from it for analysis but never returned to disclose the results.

Health authorities told The Standard that there were firm instructions from the police not to release the body to the family until a postmortem is conducted at the Voi mortuary.

"Yebei's family had planned to come on Wednesday to collect the body today (on Thursday) but we told them that the police have resisted the move," said a senior health official who asked not to be named.

Voi OCPD Joshua Lutukai said Thursday that police had not received instructions from the Senior Crimes Prevention Unity boss John Kariuki, the lead investigator in this matter, to release the body to the family for burial.

Speaking to The Standard from Eldoret Thursday, Yebei's brother Ben said the Government was yet to confirm when the postmortem would be conducted.

Some people in Voi alleged some members of the Yebei family were in Voi town Thursday for the postmortem but Ben denied this.

The County Criminal Investigations Department Officer (CID) Washington Njiru said the purpose of the postmortem is to establish the cause of Yebei's death.

Yebei's disappearance a few months ago and the subsequent discovery of his body raised questions about the commitment of the police in tracking down those behind his kidnapping and murder.

The motive of his alleged murder remains a mystery.