INVESTIGATIONS UNDERWAY

21 Ethiopians to testify in human trafficking case before deportation

Suspects are held at the Kasarani police station, Nairobi, to allow the police to record their statements.

In Summary

• Senior state counsel Donnex Ongira had applied for a special hearing so the suspects can testify and be repatriated because of cost implications.

• Prime suspect Abdi Mohammed Abubakar pleaded not guilty and applied to be released on bond.

A Kiambu court will on Thursday have a special hearing in a case where the government wants to repatriate 21 Ethiopians.

Chief magistrate Stella Atambo directed that the 21 testify before she makes a determination on a bail/bond application by the prime suspect in the matter.

This will also enable the government to facilitate repatriation of the foreigners to their country of origin. They were arrested in Kitengela and on Murang'a-Nairobi highway.

The suspects are being held at the Kasarani police station, Nairobi, to allow the police to record their statements.

The magistrate had allowed the police to detain them for 10 days so that the prosecution could identify some to testify in a human trafficking case after they were unlawfully found to be present in Kenya.

Senior state counsel Donnex Ongira had applied for a special hearing so the suspects can testify and be repatriated because of cost implications.

Prime suspect Abdi Mohammed Abubakar pleaded not guilty and applied to be released on bond.

During the rescue from a house, only one of the victims, Daniel Zeleke Abale, was found in possession of an Ethiopian passport No.EP607468, which had no valid visa from Kenya immigration services. The other 20 did not have any identification documents, the court heard.

Among the suspects are two minors aged 10 and 17 years. The magistrate ordered that the two minors be accorded special treatment.

Investigating officer Millicent Koga attached to transnational organised crime also sought to be allowed 10 days to complete investigations. She told the court she was investigating a case of trafficking in persons.

She said that at the time of rescue, 13 victims were found in the servant quarter in Kitengela, while eight were found aboard a vehicle on the Muranga-Nairobi highway when the driver was ordered to stop for routine checkup.

She said she needed to verify the passport of one of the immigrants to ascertain if it was authentic.