The inquest into the murder of Tecra Muigai, the daughter of Keroche Breweries owners Tabitha and Joseph Karanja, will continue on Tuesday, a year after her death.
Tecra died on May 2, 2020, at the Nairobi Hospital after she allegedly fell down steep stairs at a house in Lamu. Her boyfriend Omar Lali was arrested and kept in custody but the DPP dropped the murder case against him in July and ordered an inquest.
Six witnesses who carried Tecra to hospital are expected to testify before Milimani principal magistrate Zainab Abdul.
The six—Qusai Lali Omar, Ali Bakari Muhammed, Abdul Lali Omar, Yaya Salim Muhammed, Ahmed Ali Sali and Mohammed Omar Muhanji—were summoned by the magistrate after they declined to board a van sent by the DPP to testify.
Abdul also summoned Omar Lali, Tecra’s former lover, to appear for the next hearing, either in person or through an advocate, as he might be a witness in the inquest.
So far, 11 of 44 witnesses have testified, including Tecra’s mother Tabitha, brother James Karanja and househelp Anne Waithera.
The brother of Keroche heiress Tecra said she told him her affair with Lali was not ordinary but spiritual and obsessive. He said Omar tried to separate Tecra from her family and did not associate with them.
He said that most times Tecra said “it is not a normal relationship between her and Lali as it was more of a spiritual one.”
James added that when he went to Lamu with his girlfriend, he met Tecra with her friend Yvonne who told him that Lali uses witchcraft to seduce women. Tecra’s househelp said the two fought frequently when they lived in Naivasha and Tecra told her that he beat her at night.
“I was shocked because I knew Tecra’s past boyfriends. The relationship with Lali struck me as unusual. There was something unconventional, Lali was more than 30 years older. His lifestyle too was far removed from what he had known of Tecra’s previous liaisons,” he told court.
Tecra’s house help Waithera told the court how Tecra refused to let her mother and family members enter the house after they travelled to see her in Naivasha.
She said after Tecra sent a photo of Omar to her mother, she told Waithera her mother was not happy and decided to visit her.
She said when Omar heard that Tabitha had visited Tecra, he disappeared to the bush near the lake to avoid being seen. Omar came back in the evening without a phone. He had thrown it in the river thinking he would be traced, she surmised.
“Many times, when I reported to work in the morning, I would see Tecra crying and when I asked, she would say Omar had beaten her at night,” she testified.
Tecra’s driver, Eric Cheruiyot said he verbally abused the deceased and threatened him on two occasions.
Tabitha testified that her daughter made large money transfers to Omar.
“He was after my daughter’s hard-earned income and when she realised that she could not give him money anymore, he killed her,” she said.
She had filed an affidavit in which she alleged that DPP Noordin Haji is under pressure from a third party not to prosecute those responsible for her daughter’s death.