Tuesday, March 06, 2007

FBI agents fail to attend inquest of murdered priest

By Francis Njuguna
Independent Catholic News, published March 6, 2007

The inquest into the death of Fr John Kaiser, which was scheduled to re-open yesterday in Nairobi, did not take place, as three witnesses from the American FBI failed to appear.
The three senior FBI officers are: Tom Neer, a specialist in behavioral analysis; Dr Vincent Di Maio, a forensics specialist; and Bill Corbett, who has worked in counter terrorism.

When the inquest resumed briefly, Kenyan senior state counsel, Mungai Warui said the three officers had communicated early last month that they would be in Nairobi on 5 March, to testify at the inquest. But last week the FBI, sent a note saying that the would not be available to attend, due to "other unforeseeable assignments" the senior state counsel, explained to the principal magistrate, Maureen Odero. He said they would only be available in "mid March"".

Ms Odero said: "Mid March is a bit vague. We cannot keep on waiting for them as they keep putting up new dates. They need to be concrete as to when they can avail themselves for us, for we are running short of time and we cannot wait for ever".

She ordered the senior state counsel to communicate with the FBI and request the officers to appear on 19 March, when the inquest would resume.

Defence lawyer for the Catholic Church, the Mill Hill Order and the family of the late Kaiser, Mbuthi Gathenji, complained that the FBI seemed to be continually putting off coming to Nairobi to testify.

He said: "I'm not happy with the way, the FBI keeps on giving us new dates. They have failed to honour this court. We might be forced to seek for diplomatic powers of intervention to have them in Nairobi."

Mr Gathenji said the inquest would close immediately the FBI testifies.

Father Kaiser, a 67-year-old priest, worked in Kenya for 36 years. His advocacy for human rights led to his expulsion from the country in 1999, but the government revoked its decision after an outcry in the Kenyan media and appeals from the country's bishops.

On 23 August, 2000, Fr Kaiser was found shot dead at Morendat, 85 kilometers northwest of Nairobi. Newpaper reports said he had angered some members of the Moi government after testifying against two Cabinet ministers in an inquiry on tribal clashes.

The first police officers on the scene thought he had been murdered, but in 2001 the FBI ruled his death a suicide, and the Kenyan government agreed.

The Kenyan Bishops' Conference almost immediately dismissed the FBI results and questioned why it considered the information of only the government pathologist, not the three additional doctors it had sent to the scene to collect evidence. They said that, based on ballistics reports, suicide was a physical impossibility as the bullets had been fired from some distance behind him.
The bishops said that if Father Kaiser committed suicide he "involved himself in rather difficult contortions while in the process."

They said that, although a doctor's report said Father Kaiser had bloody finger marks inside his pants pockets, the FBI failed to explain how he got his hands into the pockets after allegedly blowing off his head. They also said no reasons were given as to why photographs taken from the crime scene were blurred, and no explanation was given as to why fingerprints were found on the priest's vehicle but not on the gun.

Moi lost the presidential election in December 2002, after 24 years in office. Several months later the Kenyan government ordered the inquest.

FBI risks being shut out of Kaiser inquest

Lucianne Limo


East African Standard, published March 5, 2007

An inquest into the death of Mill Hill Missionary Fr John Anthony Kaiser may close without the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) detectives giving evidence.

A Nairobi court has given the detectives from the United States spy agency until March 19 to appear before it and testify or risk being shut out.

The detectives were expected to take to the witness stand on Monday to defend their theory suggesting that the Catholic cleric committed suicide.

"An inquest, like all litigations, must come to a close. The court cannot wait indefinitely for these witnesses to come," Senior Principal Magistrate, Mrs Maureen Odero, warned.

The FBI agents expected to testify include the investigating officer, Mr William Corbett, behavioural analyst, Mr Thomas Neer and the chief medical examiner, Dr Vincent Di Maio.
State counsel, Mr James Mungai, told the magistrate that the detectives failed to attend the court due to another engagement elsewhere.

Lawyer Mbuthi Gathenji, for the Catholic Church, pleaded with the magistrate not to close the case until the FBI agents render their evidence.

Fr Kaiser was found dead at the Morendat junction on the Nakuru-Naivasha road on August 24, 2000.

Consequently, the FBI and CID were detailed to investigate the matter.

The Catholic Church has since rejected the FBI theory insisting that the missionary was killed.

Kaiser inquiry: Sunkuli laments

Kaiser inquiry: Sunkuli laments
Publication Date: 2/22/2007
Daily Nation

Former minister of State Julius Sunkuli took the dock yesterday denying killing Mill Hill missionary John Kaiser, seven years ago.

Testifying in an inquest, the former minister said allegations that he had a motive to kill Father Kaiser were untrue, adding that such a story was mooted with a sole purpose of damaging his reputation and ruining him politically.

“Although we had differences with Fr Kaiser, I had no reason to kill him,” Mr Sunkuli told principal magistrate Maureen Odero.

In a private prosecution, the Catholic Church has insisted that Mr Sunkuli plotted to kill Fr Kaiser. The church says the differences related to the minister’s acts of sexual molestation against school girls in Kilgoris and his involvement in the tribal clashes in Trans Mara.

Sexual scandal

Yesterday, Mr Sunkuli said the Fr Kaiser and the Federation of Women Lawyers’ (FIDA) push to implicate him with sexual scandal was aimed at extorting money.

“I believe the sexual abuse allegations were heaped up on me by Fr Kaiser and Fida with a view to extort me,” Mr Sunkuli said.

Mr Sunkuli made the remark in an inquest in which the court is inquiring into the circumstance leading to the death of the missionary.

The missionary’s remains were discovered at the Morindet junction in Naivasha on August 23, 2000.

Mr Mbuthi Gathenji, representing the church, said Fr Kaiser was killed at the height of growing differences over Mr Sunkuli’s involvement in sexual molestation allegations that involved two girls.

The former minister for State said the sexual molestation that faced him in 1999 and 2000 were a scheme of his political opponents, who were ought to ruin his chance of being appointed the vice-president then.

“There was a lot of information that President Moi wanted to appoint me to the position of the vice-president then. I think my political opponents wanted to use the allegations to tarnish my name and ruin my chance,” Mr Sunkuli claimed.

Financial support

Education minister George Saitoti and his Immigration colleague Gideon Konchella and Narok North MP William ole Ntimama are alleged to have offered financial support to a women’s group in Trans Mara to demonstrate in Nairobi against the former minister.

Mr Sunkili said he complained to Ngong Bishop Collin David over Fr Kaiser’s activities that were affecting him but the prelate informed him that the priest was a difficult man to deal with. The hearing continues.