CHILD TRAFFICKING

NMS deputy medical boss, three hospital employees detained over child theft

The arrests came after a BBC expose on child trafficking in Kenya

In Summary

• Musa Mohammed Ramadhan, Juliana Mbete, Beatrice Njambi and Selina Awuor are suspects in the recent BBC expose on child trafficking syndicate.

• Police say the four have crucial information and that they have the potential to interfere with investigations if released on bond before being charged.

Mama Lucy Hospital
Mama Lucy Hospital
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

A deputy medical services director with the NMS has been detained for two days to allow the police complete investigations on a child trafficking case.

Musa Mohammed Ramadhan, Juliana Mbete, Beatrice Njambi and Selina Awuor are suspects in the recent BBC expose on child trafficking syndicate.

His co-suspects are employees of Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital where Mbete is an administrator, Njambi the in-charge of new-born unit and Awuor a social worker.

Musa was at the time of the offence the hospital superintendent. He left the institution barely a month ago.

Prosecutor Everlyn Onuga told Milimani senior principal magistrate Benard Ochoi that the four are suspected of engaging in child trafficking.

A year-long BBC Africa Eye investigation showed a racket involving trusted members of the community and health workers who target homeless women, poor and single mothers in informal settlements.

The prosecution alleges in an affidavit that it has reasons to believe that this is a well-organised criminal gang operating in the country and that other players are yet to be found.

“The respondents are believed to have either conspired or acted negligently, hence enabling the commission of the offence,” the prosecution said.

According to Onuga, the suspects were arrested on November 18 and that owing to the nature of the crime and the complexity of the investigations, the state needed time to hold them for further questioning.

Police say the four have crucial information and that they have the potential to interfere with investigations if released on bond before being charged.

Onuga said Musa did not properly hand over the documents needed by the investigating officer as they were in his custody.

“All respondents are under Musa. He was transferred barely a month ago and the crucial evidence were in his custody as the superintendent of Mama Lucy Hospital. He should not be treated differently.”

The charge sheet which is yet to be filed in court against the four states that they, with others not in court, offered for adoption a six-month old child (name withheld) for the purpose of trafficking him.

The offfence was committed between May 11 and November 17 at Mama Lucy Hospital.

The four further promoted child trafficking of two children, according to the charge sheet.

Lawyer Tom Kajwang asked the court to release Musa on bail as he is a former employee and the prosecution had not demonstrated that he still in charge of the documents as alleged.

He argued that he could not interfere with documents. “My client is due for medical review today and urge that he be released on bail,” Kajwang said. 

The same court remanded Mama Lucy Hospital CEO Emma Mutio, social worker Makallah Fred and administrative officer Regina Musembi for two days pending investigations on the same issue.

Ochoi directed the investigating officer to visit the hospital and collect documents in the presence of the suspects.

Makallah was allegedly exposed by BBC negotiating with an undercover journalist in a well-planned plot to sell a child who had been abandoned at Mama Lucy Hospital.

The case will be mentioned on Monday November 23.