Cops seek to unravel identity puzzle of KQ plane stowaway

Friday, November 15th, 2019 04:55 |
Cedric Shivonje, a suspect currently detained at Industrial Area Remand Prison in Nairobi over a defilement case. PD/COURTESY
Cedric Shivonje, a suspect currently detained at Industrial Area Remand Prison in Nairobi over a defilement case. PD/COURTESY

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has launched investigations to establish the true identity of a man who fell off a Kenya Airways plane as it approached London’s Heathrow Airport in June.

It also emerged yesterday the photo of a man earlier thought to be the stowaway is that of Cedric Shivonje, a suspect currently detained at Industrial Area Remand Prison in Nairobi over a defilement case. 

DCI detectives on Wednesday visited Industrial Area prison where they interrogated and recorded a statement from Shivonje. DCI boss George Kinoti confirmed last evening they had recorded a statement from Shivonje and said they were not taking any chances on the matter.

“We would like to know all the details surrounding the so-called stowaway and the cause of the mix-up, if any. We are also going to investigate whether the man who fell off the plane was a Kenyan or came from South Africa where the plane began the journey before stopping over at JKIA,” Kinoti said.

No documents

Court records seen by People Daily indicate that Shivonje allegedly defiled a girl on August 6, and was charged before a Kibera court on August 9. He denied two charges of defilement and indecent assault.

The complainant, BMO, is a Class Seven pupil at a private school in Kawangware, according to records. The records also indicate the case was registered at Kibera Law Courts, reference 69/2019, and that the suspect was taken to Industrial Area Remand Prison on August 13, 2019. This is after he failed to raise a Sh200,000 cash bail given by Court Number 8 magistrate.

Kenya Prisons Service spokesman Dixon Mwakazi confirmed that Shivonje was remanded at the Nairobi Medium Prison, Industrial Area. 

“We can confirm that Cedric is remanded at Nairobi Medium Prison. The matter is with Muthangari Police Station and they have a detailed report,” Mwakazi said.

The case came up for mention last week, on November 4, and the matter was scheduled for hearing on February 3, 2020.

Details from the court file indicate that Shivonje, who was a history teacher at the Kawangware school, had on the fateful day ordered pupils out of class and told them to go and play before summoning the complainant to the office. 

Police reports state that he promised the girl preferential treatment in exams. However, the victim left and he later sent another pupil to call her.

He then directed the girl to the boys’ toilet where he followed her and defiled her. The matter was reported to a local pastor who interrogated and counselled the girl before reporting the case to police.

Officers from Muthangari station conducted investigations and took the victim to Nairobi Women’s Hospital for treatment. A case file was opened, and Shivonje was tracked to his Kawangware, Gatina residence and arrested.

Shivonje had initially given his name as Hillary Misikho, and even students knew him as teacher Hillary. However, when he was taken to court he denied he was the one, prompting officers to launch investigations about his real identity. Detectives established the suspect’s name as Cedric Shivonje, from Kakamega county.

No documents

According to police, Shivonje had been employed by a foreigner who runs an orphanage but the foreigner later transferred him to the Kawangware school. 

During initial interrogation, Shivonje had told detectives he was a student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology town campus, but did not have any documents to prove it. 

Police said he was found with a KCSE certificate which indicated he sat for his secondary school exams in 2014 at Tande Secondary School and scored a mean grade of D- (Minus).

Shivonje’s parents—Isaac Beti and Janet Khakali—during an interview on Wednesday at their Makhwavuye home in Kakamega, said they had been quoted out of context over the stowaway saga, insisting the photo which had been used widely in the media was that of their son who was incarcerated at Industrial Area prison. 

Shivonje’s mother said she had spoken with her son on Tuesday night, adding that it was Shivonje who had called to break the news that he had been reported in the media as the stowaway who had died.

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