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Court orders detention of ill-fated bus owner

Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy

A Molo court has ordered the detention of the owner and a Sacco member of the ill-fated bus that crashed at Fort Ternan in Kericho county.

The court allowed the detention pending a ruling today on an application by the police, who are seeking more time to conclude investigations. 

Chief magistrate Samuel Wahome directed that the duo, Home Boys bus owner Bernard Ishindu and a Western Express sacco member Cleophas Shimanyula alias ‘Toto’, be remanded at Londiani Police Station.   

“The court has to go through the entire document before it can give a comprehensive ruling. The matter is of public interest,” he ruled.

The police in an application sought to be granted seven more days to detain the suspects to complete investigations on Wednesday’s road crash.

The suspects are likely to face manslaughter charges.

The investigating officer Festus Ondieki, in an affidavit, said there is need to contact the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officials for various records regarding the ill-fated bus and its sacco. 

“We pray that the court grants the police seven more days to detain the two suspects as investigations on the matter are still ongoing, we have to check records from the NTSA about the vehicle before we can prefer charges,” read part of the affidavit.

He added that identification of the victims’ bodies by families is still ongoing and thereafter, a post mortem will be conducted on their bodies to reveal the specific cause of death.

“Postmortem will give us more information on how each passenger died. The identifications of the bodies by families is still ongoing and we need more time for the same to be executed,” he said. 

However, the accused duo’s lawyers Ken Ochieng’ and Peter Samba objected the application by the police, saying their clients are not a flight risk and have a right to enjoy their freedom. 

“The application by police to detain our clients is unwarranted because they are not a flight risk, they are Kenyans like any other and also manage a fleet of other buses and their detention would affect their business,” said Samba. 

The Kakamega-bound bus is said to have lost control at Fort Ternan where it plunged into a valley and rolled several times killing 56 passengers. 

According to survivors, the bus was overloaded and the driver failed to heed calls to slow down.

The survivors are recuperating in various hospitals including Kericho County Referral Hospital,  Fort Ternan and Londiani. 

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