In the name of God: Rogue city Bishop made millions selling babies
Polygamous Archbishop Musa Magodo Keya, father of eight, is yet to be buried a year after his death. Magodo’s body is lying at a city morgue as two of his three wives battle for control of vast wealth straddling six counties.
But more shocking are claims that his Magodo International Ministries along Rabai Road in Buruburu could have been a child trafficking conduit that worshippers were not aware of.
Indeed, the ‘dark side’ of the church, including claims of money laundering, only came out after Magondo’s demise. A church elder intimated his cause of death as brain tumor, but The Nairobian did not independently verify that claim from the family.
Following a tip-off, police raided the church searching for clues of a possible criminal enterprise, which apart from running the now shutdown Magodo TV station, also operates a children’s home and school. Cops stormed the children’s home after reports that young girls were being abused.
The secrets of Magodo International surfaced after the two wives, Gladys Nekesa and Alice Ingaiza, decided to wash their dirty linen in public while fighting over his properties. Archbishop Magondo wrote a Will in which he included his three wives including the first, Margaret Makungu, who he had since divorced.
Nekesa’s beef with Alice is that she was employed as a house help only to end up as a wife. Magodo’s body has been lying at Umash Funeral Home since his death on September 2, 2019.
It is claimed vulnerable young girls from poor backgrounds are lured to the children’s home with promises of a better life. Instead, they are sexual exploited, becoming pawns in an elaborate child trafficking syndicate involving some of them being impregnated while at the home before the babies are snatched on delivery and birth documents falsified.
Detectives have been told the young mothers are made to believe their babies are under the care of foster mothers outside the children’s home. But it has since emerged that the babies are sold to willing buyers — serious allegations that a team from the Directorate Criminal Investigations (DCI) attached to Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit, is investigating.
The DCI team carried out a swoop at the centre on September 18 and arrested the children’s home in charge, Julius Ngala Atilo. He is said to be a children’s officer working within Makadara sub-county.
It is not clear whether Ngala is a civil servant or not since detectives were economical with details. Ngala was picked him from his Civil Servants’ house in Kariobangi South as a simultaneous raid was conducted Magodo’s Karen home where they rescued four minors under the care of his third wife, Alice Ingaiza, who managed to evade the police dragnet.
The officers headed to Jericho estate where they arrested William Michieka Mekonge and Clecencia Onsake Mongare, a couple who were found with three children believed to have been stolen from the children’s home.
Onsake told police she is the biological mother of two minors while the other belongs to her sister.
Police extended their search to Busia County, seizing Beatrice Auma Ojwang at a village in Butula. The cops found her which a child they suspect was trafficked from Magodo’s church.
At the end of the sting operation, police had rescued eight children and arrested four suspects who appeared before a Milimani court of September 21.
“We have information that there are many more children that we intend to rescue as this is part of a wider child stealing syndicate,” Sergeant Fredrick Mongare told Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi when he filed a miscellaneous application requesting for more time to complete investigations.
Collaborating a version given to The Nairobian by a senior faithful who has since quit the church, the detective said girls are impregnated then robbed of motherhood once they give birth. In requesting for a custodial sentence of the suspects for 21 days, police said it was necessary due to the extensive scope of investigations.
“All rescued children, some of the suspects and would-be parents, will be subjected to a DNA sampling process,” detective Mongare told the court adding the investigation was targeting more people in a wider investigation across the country.
Through medical examination, police want to establish the paternity of children under their custody. Suspects linked to the ‘racket’ will be required to produce pre-natal medical reports and birth documents.
“The eight kids rescued are products of abused orphans and destitutes sheltering at the church,” Mongare told the court.
Ngala, Michieka, Onsake and Auma were released on a Sh50,000 bond each pending completion of investigations. In praying for leniency, lawyer Laureen Wadegu said they were not a flight risk, and that her clients would not interfere with investigations.
Child stealing is an offence contrary to section 174 (1)(b) of the Penal Code, which states: “Any person who, with intent to deprive any parent, guardian or other person who has the lawful care or charge of a child under the age of 14 years of the possession of the child; receives or harbours the child, knowing it to have been so taken or enticed away or detained, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
An elder says he initially doubted the girls were abused until when a member shed light on the matter.
According to the elder, victims who dare raise the alarm over sexual exploitation were either issued with eviction threats or coerced into submission.
“I am now aware of three girls who were taken through this harrowing experience; I think others are out there and don’t want anything to do with the home,” says the elder.
The man claims Magodo had all along made them believe that most of the property belonged to the church.
“It is really discouraging that most of the property is registered in his name. We were shocked to learn that while the church account has a mere Sh 36,000, his personal account had Sh7million,” he says.