CHILD TRAFFICKING

Mama Lucy hospital CEO, 2 others locked up in child sale case

The three did not plead to any charges as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations sought 10 days to detain them.

In Summary
  • Investigating officer Wanga Masaki  told senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi that the officers were arrested following information obtained from Leparan about their involvement in the crime.
  • The court heard that in the BBC broadcast, Leparan is seen negotiating with an undercover journalist in a well-planned plot to sell a child.
Regina Musembi, Makallah Fred Leperan and Emma Mutio at the Millimani law courts for plea taking in a case on child trafficking at Mama Lucy hospital on November 18, 2020.
Regina Musembi, Makallah Fred Leperan and Emma Mutio at the Millimani law courts for plea taking in a case on child trafficking at Mama Lucy hospital on November 18, 2020.
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

A social worker who appeared in a BBC expose allegedly negotiating with an undercover journalist to sell a child abandoned at Mama Lucy Hospital was charged on Wednesday.

Makallah Fred Leparan was presented in court alongside hospital CEO Emma Mutio and administrative officer Regina Musembi.

The three however did not plead to any charges as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations sought 10 days to detain them pending further investigations.

Investigating officer Wanga Masaki told senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi that the officers were arrested following information obtained from Leparan about their involvement in the crime.

“They are believed to have aided Leparan in the commission of the said crime,” Masaki told the court.

The court heard that in the BBC broadcast, Leparan is seen negotiating with an undercover journalist in a well-planned plot to sell a child who had been abandoned at the hospital.

“The respondent is seen receiving a substantial sum of money after handing over three abandoned children to the journalist. The three children were later found at Imani Rehabilitation Agency,” he told the court.

The DCI said it has reason to believe there is well-organised gang operating within the country whose other players are yet to be established.

“The respondents hold crucial information and have the potential of interfering with the investigation if released on bond… Their fixed places of abode are not known to DCI and therefore they are potentially flight risks if released before the investigations are completed,” Masaki stated.

The three suspects, through their lawyer Danstan Omari, opposed the detention saying Mutio joined the facility from Mbagathi Hospital 10 days ago.

“She is an accomplished doctor and is well known, she cannot be a flight risk,” Omari told the court.

The lawyer said no evidence had been tabled before the court to show that if they were released on bail they would interfere with witnesses as there was no demonstration of who the witnesses are.

“The state says they have recovered children at Imani children's home and need to conduct DNA testing. It's a scientific process outside the control of these suspects, the labs are independent and they can't interfere with the DNA testing,” he argued.

Magistrate Ochoi will rule whether to detain the suspects on Thursday. In the meantime they were remanded at Kileleshwa police station.

Edited by Henry Makori