Catholic priest to spend more nights in custody

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 12:00 |
Catholic priest Fr Richard Onyango Oduor at Milimani Law Courts. Photo/PD/CHARLES MATHAI

Alphonse Mung’ahu

Catholic priest Richard Oduor will spend two more days in the police cells to enable detectives to complete investigations into claims that he willfully spread coronavirus.

This was after Milimani Principal Magistrate Martha Nanzushi granted police two more days to continue detaining him at Kilimani Police Station pending completion of the probe.

In his affidavit, corporal John Mmasi attached to DCI Kilimani told the court that the suspect was arrested on April 9 and that they needed more time to record statements from witnesses before they prefer charges against him.

He said the offence, which the respondent is facing, attracts a sentence punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with a fine, or with both.

The court heard that the suspect, currently based in Sudan, arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)  on March 12 from Rome, Italy, where he is undergoing further studies, and went to Utawala Catholic Parish, Nairobi. 

Oduor is also said to have proceeded to Kisumu, then Ugenya in Siaya county and later to his parent’s home at Ambira.

He was quarantine at Mbagathi hospital in Nairobi where he underwent  two tests and confirmed to be free of the virus.

The magistrate directed the matter to be mentioned on Thursday. 

Fr Richard Oduor had been hospitalised for more than two weeks after he allegedly tested positive of the disease.

Police said they intend to charge him on Tuesday with defying a government directive to self-quarantine over the coronavirus. 

He had been admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital with symptoms of the disease and he later tested positive according to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

Officials traced more than 130 people in Siaya and Kisumu that came into contact with the priest and put them under quarantine.

Priests serving at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Utawala, Nairobi, where Fr Oduor spent a day after arriving into the country from Rome were also put under self-quarantine.

Officials said Fr Oduor returned into the country on March 11 and spent a day at Utawala before travelling home on March 13 where he conducted the burial of a close relative.

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