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Monday, 16 January 2012

Fr. Makewa: Magistrate out!

Fr Makewa Trial: 
Magistrate bolts out

 By Martin Masai

Its back to square one.
Fr Makewa''s  attempted murder trial may have to be heard afresh after the trial magistrate bolted out of the case today

Makueni Principal Magistrate Joseph Karanja withdrew from the case after twice postponing delivering a ruling on whether or not to put Fr Makewa on his defense.
Karanja has been hearing the case since November 2010 and had heard evidence from all witnesses and set December 5 2011 as the day he would give his ruling on whether there was sufficient evidence to put the suspended priest in charge of Wote Parish on his defense.
By withdrawing, Mr Karanja has wasted over 13 months of work on the case including the time of witnesses, police officers and court staff, not to mention the anxiety from both the accused and the victim, Fr Fidelis Nzuki.
When the case was called up, the Magistrate called all the parties to his office to deliver a tirade. He put off the matter to January 9, saying that he needed the time to decide if he would give the ruling in the prevailing circumstances or withdraw altogether from the case.
Karanja cited unconfirmed allegations that he had been bribed, claims that were complicated by rumours allegedly circulated by Fr Makewa that he was due to be freed on that day.
The matter was not to be decided on January 9,2012 as Mr Karanja put it off again for unknown reasons to January 15, 2012.
As he withdrew, Karanja cited events that took place in his chamber of December 5 2011 and reporterd exclusively by The Anchor, saying the situation was worsened by the report of what he describd as in camera proceedings

Did you read about the bribery allegations
introduced in the case by the magistrate himself?

Here we go: CORRUPTION claims have emerged in the Fr.Makewa attempted murder trial.
This forced the trial magistrate Joseph Karanja to put off delivery of a ruling on whether to put Fr Makewa on his defense or discharge him.

Surprisingly the allegations of corruption were brought up by Mr Karanja himself in a Chamber session that seemed formal al­though he never made notes for the 10 minute session.
The case had come up for a ruling on whether there was a case for Fr Makewa to answer on December 5,2011. When the file was called up, Karanja directed that the Pros­ecutor, the victim Fr Fidelis Nzuki, Fr Makewa , his advocate Mr Mr.  J. Mwang’ombe and court interpreter con­vene in his cham­ber.
Once in the chamber, Mr Karanja expressed his fury at alle­gations that he had been bribed with Sh 300.000, being part of Sh 3m allegedly demanded to fix the matter.
He is said to have accused Fr Makewa of claiming that he was set to be cleared of the attempted murder charge- a rumour that has swept Makueni days before the expected ruling, a claim Fr Makewa denied.
He turned to Fr Nzuki and demanded to know where he has been taking court pro­ceedings of the trial.
In response, Fr Nzuki said he has been dis­cussing with friends the proceedings, adding that he had met friends in State offices to review the proceedings. Our source cap­tured this exchange between Fr Nzuki and Mr Karanja:
Mr Karanja: With whom have you been dis­cussing these proceedings?
Fr. Nzuki:   With my colleagues and friends.
Mr Karanja: Have you taken the pro­ceedings to any office for discussion?
Fr Nzuki: I may have discussed the pro­ceedings with officials but in their ca­pacity as my friends to evaluate        the case
Mr Karanja: What have they told you about the proceedings?
Fr Nzuki:  In fact we have been in agreement that the proceedings reflect what has been said in court
Mr Karanja: Do you have confidence that you will get justice in this court?
Fr Nzuki: Absolutely. I have had no doubt about this
Makewa’s lawyer expressed remorse and apologized on behalf of Fr Makewa. When he was through with his lines, Mr Karanja turned to face Fr Nzuki, prompting him to say he had nothing to apologize for what­so­ever.
The magistrate ended his tirade by in­forming the parties that he would ad­journ the case till January 9, 2012 during which he would consider whether to deliver the ruling or pull out of the matter altogether.
A large crowd composed of sympathizers of both parties were kept waiting in the court precincts without a hint that there would be no ruling that day after all.
The new twist adds to the drama that has dotted the incident since it took place at the official residence of Fr Makew who at the time was in charge of the Makueni Parish.
It took the police many months for make up their minds to prosecute Fr Makewa
Fr Makewa was finally hauled into court  on November 15,  2010  to face a charge of attempted murder on Father Fidelis Nzuki. The offence  was committed on March 21,2010
Makewa, suspended in September for two years, was brought before Makueni Senior Magistrate Joseph Karanja. He was not charged with misuse of the gun as is usual in such circumstances.
He was not immediately allowed to enter plea as the prosecutor said the file had been recalled by the Attorney General’s office.
A  large crowd of  local residents turned up at Unoa, the location of the court, to have a glimpse of the former  Priest-in-charge of Wote Parish.
Makewa was arrested in a dramatic am­bush in his Kangundo home after defying summons to appear before Makueni Police following a decision by th State to charge him with the offence.
The Anchor understood that it took the in­ter­vention of Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere to arrest Makewa after it became apparent that Makueni police were dragging their feet.
Makewa stayed overnight at Kangundo Po­lice Station and was driven through Machakos Garden Hotel where he, the Makueni District CID boss and three other policemen had tea which dragged on to Lunch. Mr Mumira told The Anchor at the time that he could not remember who paid for the teas and lunches.

In the incident, It is reported that suspected gangsters raided the residence forcing Fa­ther Makewa to open fire in an effort to fight back at about 4.15 am on March 20,2010. 
When gunshots rung out that night, a catho­lic Priest, Father Fidelis Nzuki was left injured and bleeding profusely. He sus­tained a shot on his arm and another between his legs. 
Reports made to the Police in Wote, Makueni District that morning by Father Makewa indicated that the alleged gang­sters fired at the house, injuring the visiting Fa­ther Nzuki and forcing Father Makewa to return fire. During the night of attack, Father Makewa had hosted four other priests in his house, among them Father Nzuki. The Priests allege that they were woken up by gunfire with Father Makewa shouting that the house was under attack. 
They could not hear the attackers other than gunshots that made them believe that they were under attack. It could not have been that the fire was coming from the priest’s gun. While fully alert, it is alleged that Fa­ther Makewa called Father Nzuki and handed to him a gun and asked him to head towards the door of the sitting room and open it stealthily so that he(Makewa) could have a full view of the gangsters. 
It is claimed that Father Makewa took a position along the corridor holding rifle, ostensibly to give cover to Father Nzuki as he opened the door. The other priests re­mained holed up in their rooms. 
As Nzuki opened the door, a gunshot tore through his arm and he is reported to have yelled that he had been shot. As he wailed, a voice shouted “you can Die!” as another shot hit him, ripping through the flesh close to his genitals. 
All this while, the other priests were shaking in fear of the unknown. It is alleged that Father Makewa eventually opened the door, and after a while, workers at the parish and the priests organised to take the injured priest to the hospital. 
It was then assumed that Father Nzuki was hit by the alleged gangsters. Makewa narrated to The Anchor the story of the alleged raid and did not lock out the possi­bility that one of his shots may have ricocheted and hit Father Nzuki.
The State closed its case in November, ending episodes of dramatic tales that left a catholic pries for dead.
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