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A case of two stolen cows and a DNA test

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When Ann Cherotich and her husband John Tingiso lost their two Friesian cows to a cattle thief five years ago, their dairy business was shattered.

Ms Cherotich’s life would then be darkened even more, when her husband died two months later in a road accident.

At only 31, she was a widowed mother of three with no source of income.

One day in August this year, as she was travelling to Nakuru, she spotted two cows grazing by the road. The cows had all the features of her stolen animals.

Although five years had passed, she was convinced that the cows she spotted were hers, so she reported the matter to the police, and investigations began.

What appeared like a light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be another puzzle that has proved too complex to resolve.

A veterinary officer familiar with Ms Cherotich’s cows assessed the physical appearance of the cows and was convinced that they were the same ones. But a neighbour, Gloria Kandie, was claiming ownership.

A DNA profiling was done by another vet, and the results proved Ms Cherotich right. The cows’ DNA matched those of the cows that sired them.

However, the ownership of the two animals is now the subject of a legal battle between the two women at the Chief Magistrates’ Court in Nakuru.

Pregnant cows

Ms Cherotich says she lost the cattle on the night of August 27, 2015, around 3am. While sleeping, she and her husband heard a commotion at the cattle shed and when they woke up, found the cows — Rose Nangiene and Kisirani, mother and daughter — gone. Both were pregnant.

They tracked the animals’ footprints, but the trail ran cold on the Nakuru-Kericho highway.

Her husband reported the theft to the Ngata Police Post.

Ms Kandie, on the other hand, maintained that she bought the cows separately from different sellers — one from Nyandarua and the other from Njoro at a total cost of Sh215,000 in 2019. She named the cows Ruma and Legina and produced sale agreements between her and David Mogaka and Paul Majanga.

Investigations revealed that the description given by Ms Cherotich in her earlier police statements tallied with the features of the two cows.

A veterinary officer in charge at Rongai Sub-county office, Mr Peter Ngugi, was engaged to do a DNA test. His findings revealed that the cows were related and belonged to Ms Cherotich.

“All factors considered, Ms Ann Cherotich proved beyond reasonable doubt to be the owner of the two cows,” noted Mr Ngugi in his report dated August 28.

Ms Kandie, however, disputed the report, and the police forwarded the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Nakuru Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Daniel Karuri, on perusing the file, directed that the cows be handed back to Ms Cherotich, their legal owner.

The DPP relied on the evidence of Ms Cherotich, her mother, the veterinary officer who used to attend to the animals, and of the police.

Loss of the cattle

“In light of the above expert opinion that the two cows belong to Ms Cherotich, I direct that they be restored… to her,” Mr Karuri ordered on September 9.

Following the DPP’s directive, the Officer Commanding Station at Menengai wrote to Ms Kandie on September 20 directing her to surrender the cows in two days—an order Ms Kandie is challenging in court.

In the case, Ms Kandie has sued Ms Cherotich and the Menengai OCS, accusing them of conspiring to dispossess her of her animals.

She has dismissed the veterinary report as fraudulent.

However, as the case awaits determination by the court Ms Cherotich fears losing the animals as she claims to have no means to put up a fight in court.

According to Ms Cherotich, her husband was deeply stressed by the loss of the cattle and was knocked by a matatu while crossing the highway after a fruitless search for the cows in Molo.

“These animals were my life since I used to sell the milk to Kenya Cooperative Creameries where we managed to support our livelihoods,” she said.

by Nationafrica


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Courts

Four children fight claims they were disowned by late MP

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Four children of former Keiyo North MP William Murgor yesterday fought allegations that they had been disowned by their father before his death.

While testifying before the High Court in Eldoret, Ambrose Kiplagat Murgor, one of the four children said to have been born out of wedlock, told the court their father never disowned him or any of his three siblings.

While being cross-examined before Justice Hellen Omondi, Mr Kiplagat said he was a biological child of the late MP, adding that the contrary claims were only made to lock him and his siblings out of the MP’s vast estate.

“My late father never disowned me or my siblings,” Kiplagat told the court.

He said he was born in 1970 at Murgor’s Kaptagat farm before they moved in 1976 to Chesigot farm in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The four – Kiplagat, Oscar Murgor, Sharon Murgor and Faith Murgor – who are children of the former MP’s fourth wife Anna Kimoi, have told the court they were brought up with the other children.

“We were raised together with the other siblings from the different houses. I was in school with my two brothers, Collins and Kenneth, in the same primary school, all along living as brothers,” he added.

He told the court that he did not know the reasons as to why he and his brother Oscar did not get a share of their father’s farms like rest of his siblings.

Kiplagat added that his elder sister Enid Cheptanui filed the case against her step-brother Francis Murgor, Chemutai Murgor and Keiyo North MP Dr James Murgor for excluding them in the distribution of the Sh1.4 billion family estate.

While testifying in the succession dispute, James denied knowing Kiplagat and his three siblings Oscar, Sheila and Faith Murgor.

While James claimed to have only been familiar with them for a few years, Kiplagat on the other hand told the court the MP was well known to him and that he had even campaigned for him.

“I campaigned for him in three elections, and he always introduced me as his brother. When my mother was sick, I was in contact with the MP, who even helped in paying the hospital bill,”

by Stanardmedia.co.ke


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Courts

Willy Mutunga’s former wife loses bid to revive divorce suit

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Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s ex-wife Beverle Michaele Lax (pictured) has lost a bid to revive a divorce appeal she filed against him in 2015.

The Court of Appeal had initially dismissed Lax’s appeal against a High Court divorce ruling for her lawyer’s failure to pursue it.

She, however, went back, saying her lawyers never informed her that the case was coming up.

But Court of Appeal Judges Asike Makhandia, Jamilla Mohammed and Sankale ole Kantai found that her conduct, while the appeal was pending, did not persuade the court to intervene.

According to the judges, Lax filed a separate case to dissolve the same marriage at a San Mateo County Court in California, US, and never informed the Kenyan court about it.

The court observed that the High Court had finally dissolved the marriage, hence her appeal had been overtaken by events.

“We cannot fathom the reason(s) for this action. Be that as it may, it does again point to the applicant as a person without candour. What the applicant is seeking from this court is really the exercise of discretion,” the judges ruled.

The court found that if Lax was discussing with her lawyers about their pay, they must have informed her about the appeal.

Lax told the court that she came to learn about the dismissal of her case in November last year when she temporarily visited Kenya. She narrated that she only managed to peruse the file on January 24, 2020 and could not have attended court as she was unwell.

She said her then lawyers failed to inform her that if she did not pay their legal fees, they would not attend the court sessions.

“There is no doubt that the applicant was in constant communication with her counsel who were irksome in demanding their legal fees and we therefore find it difficult to believe that she was not informed of the hearing date,”  the judges ruled.

Mutunga opposed her application and told the court he filed a divorce case against Lax in 2009. According to him, the court gave its judgement on July 26, 2012.

Aggrieved with the High Court’s decision, Mutunga said his ex-wife filed an appeal on September 18, 2015, but the case did not proceed out of her delaying tactics.

He explained that when the case came up for hearing on November 18, 2015, Lax sought for Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, who was then a Court of Appeal judge, to withdraw from the bench that was hearing the case.

By Standardmedia.co.ke


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Courts

Mombasa lawyer loses Sh20 million to ‘mganga hatari’

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A Mombasa lawyer charged with stealing Sh20 million from his client told a court the money was swindled by a mganga from Tanzania. Witchdoctor

Musa Ngare Aziz told Senior Principal Magistrate Francis Kyambia that he contracted a Mr Mohammed, a witch doctor, to help him sell red mercury reportedly valued at over Sh100 million. The mercury was purportedly in the possession of a woman identified as Sarah from Samburu.

Mohammed took Aziz through ritual including meeting with ‘invisible sheikhs’ in dark caves in Mombasa, besides other rituals in Tanzania to help in selling the mercury to increase his fortunes.

But it was the beginning of his financial drain, physical torture and death threats, said Aziz, who confessed to his parents after recovering from a road accident that, “I had been conned a lot of money mainly belonging to my clients.”

Aziz said a friend introduced him to Sarah as a client in need of legal services to sell mercury. Sarah in turn, introduced him to the mganga ostensibly after failing to find a buyer. Since the deal was purportedly worth Sh105 million, a lawyer was needed. Aziz was taken to a house in Kisauni belonging to a woman identified as Mama Agnes.

“I went to verify the mercury, Agnes poured it on a razor blade and it turned black and while my friend’s blue pen turned red,” Aziz told the court.

“However, Sarah claimed to have seen a snake in the mercury and was told by elders that only Mohamed could help because there was something bad halting the transaction, which needed cleansing,” Aziz narrated.

He added that he used his own and client’s money for Mohammed’s costly rituals for which he was brought before the court charged with stealing Sh20 million belonging to his client, Majid Rashid Abdalla, on diverse dates between October 6 and 27, 2015.

The police haven’t arrested Mohammed or the ‘invisible sheikhs’ as they apparently are afraid of venturing into the dark caves.

Aziz told the court that the invisible sheikhs asked for a bag, which disappeared but was returned full of cash equivalent to Sh105 million – the value of the mercury. The bag was then closed and keys handed to Aziz to open once the sheikhs secured a buyer for the mercury.

He said Mohamed had asked him and his team to bring with them Sh20,000 as entry fee into the cave and a big bag. He was told to place Sh300,000 in the four corners of the bag totalling Sh1.2 million.

He said that voices demanded the bag, which disappeared and when it returned, it was full of cash equivalent to Sh105 million.

The invisible sheikhs then demanded a second bag stashed with 1.5 million on each corner but when Aziz returned to the cave with the bag containing $60,000 (Sh6 million), the sheikhs were not impressed. They reportedly threatened and tortured Aziz, who was warned against going to work and was fined Sh100,000.

Every Thursday, Mohammed demanded Sh80,000 to feed the invisible sheikhs with camel meat. He gave Mohamed the cash directly or took it to the caves himself or through his friend. Aziz also catered for Mohamed’s travels from Tanzania and accommodation in Nyali during the entire duration of the rituals in Mombasa.

Aziz promised to reimburse the money in instalments. Hearing is set for Nov 25.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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