Mama Lucy Hospital boss, two others in court over child theft claims
Alphonce Mung’ahu and Zadock Angira
Three suspects who were arrested over child trafficking claims were yesterday arraigned.
Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital chief executive Emma Mutio, Regina Musembi, an administrator at the hospital and a junior officer Makallah Fred Leparan, however, did not plead to the charges, as police requested to detain them for 10 more days to complete investigations.
Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi, will this morning rule on whether the police can continue holding the trio.
In an application, detective Chief Inspector Wanga Masake who is leading the probe told the court the three suspects were arrested on Tuesday evening after BBC aired news over the alleged buying of babies at the hospital.
Masake said they need more time to collect evidence before preferring charges against the suspects.
He told court that his office received information that the suspects who are employees of the Ministry of Health and currently based at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, were engaging in child trafficking contrary to the law and the same had been broadcasted on BBC on November 16.
Masake said from the said BBC broadcast, the first respondent is seen negotiating with an undercover journalist in a well-planned plot to sell a child, who had been abandoned at the hospital.
He told the court that the same respondent is seen receiving a substantial sum of money after handing over three abandoned children to the journalist.
“We have reason to believe that this is a well organised criminal gang that is operating within the country whose other players are yet to be established,” said Masake.
He said that the offence committed is complex and detectives need more time to complete investigation.
But the suspects lawyers led by Danstan Omari opposed the application for ten days, saying the suspects are not flight risk.
Omari asked the court to grant police only one day to complete the investigation.
Omari said the suspect cannot run away since they are among those doctors fighting Covid-19. He asked the court to release them on bond so as to continue fighting the virus.
Meanwhile, police commanders have been directed to work closely with local children officers, hospitals and children homes to contain the rising cases of child smuggling.
Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai yesterday said investigations had revealed that senior medical officers were colluding with child smugglers and that they had identified several medical personnel.
“In the course of our investigations and operations, it is unfortunate that senior medical officers in collusion with child smugglers are highly involved,” Mutyambai said.