Bribery Drama inFr Makewa trial
By Martin Masai
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.
Professor Mbindyo who treated Fr. Fidelis Nzuki was the last witness in the trial. Professor Mbindyo who introduced himself as a lecturer in the University of Nairobi and a Consultant in several City Hospitals informed the attentive Makueni Court that he is an Orthopaedic Surgeon.
He said on March 21 2010 he attended to the injured Catholic Priest- Fr Nzuki who said had suffered terrible gunshots resulting to numerous gun wounds.
He recalled how he received his client as a referral case from Makueni District Hospital while on duty at the Mater Hospital. The priest’s injury was so critical that he had to be admitted in the ICU unit.
In general the priest spend 44 days in the hospital where he underwent three major operations to correct the damage caused by the powerful gunshots.
The professor explained every detail on how he attended the injured priest and worked on his left hand and his two thighs which were badly torn by several gunshots.
The doctor explained that the left hand of the priest had its ulna bone blownoff and required some alternative bones that he hived from his ribs to repair the damage together with some supporting metal objects. The hand required removal of hundreds of dead tissues and cells in order to save it, he testified.
These injuries resulted in the priest suffering from severe blood hemorrhage and shock, the witness said.
On his thighs several operations were carried out and some skin had to be hived from other parts of the body to fill in the damaged parts.
The court heard that the gunshot partly damaged his nerves which required a ‘long, long time to regenerate and function’. The nerves if fully destroyed could cause paralysis, he told the attentive court.
Professor Mbindyo told the court that his client Fr. Nzuki requires further operations to repair his hand and thighs for he is near to full recovery. In the meantime the doctor stated that Fr. Nzuki is still under medication and undergoing physiotherapy.
Asked by the prosecutor whether he had removed any foreign body from the priest’s body, the professor affirmed that he had removed several pieces of shrapnel owing to the gunshots. The police showed some pellets which the doctor affirmed that they are the ones he had removed form the body of the injured priest.
The doctor presented his medical report as evidence to the court and also gave a copy of the P3 form which he had filled for the Fr Nzuki.
The defense counsel had no questions to the Professor.