Top Kenya pathologist faces body parts theft charges
Kenya’s former Chief Government Pathologist Moses Njue, could soon be charged in court after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed his arrest and prosecution for stealing body organs.
In a report prepared by the assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr C. M Mwaniki, the chief prosecutor directed that Dr Njue, who resigned from the government a few years ago to start his own medical school, be charged with theft of body parts belonging to Benedict Karau, who died mysteriously on March 2, 2015.
The DPP recommended that Dr Njue be charged with three counts, including theft contrary to Section 275 of the penal code, wilful destruction of evidence and illegal removal of body parts contrary to the Anatomy Act.
“In regard to the missing body organ(s) you are directed to arrest Dr Moses Njue and cause him to be charged with the following offences,” part of the letter by Ms Mwaniki dated April 14 this year reads.
Other than the DPP recommending his arrest and prosecution, the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board is investigating the matter after the family of Mr Karau, through his son Charles Mwongela, lodged a complaint.
Statements filed at the DPP’s office state that the late Karau, a polygamous man, died in his house on the fateful night.
His youngest wife, Ms Martha Gakou, told the family that he choked while eating his supper and died.
But not satisfied with the explanation, other family members asked for a post-mortem to establish the cause of his death.
The family was in agreement but Ms Gakou said she would send a private doctor to represent her.
She hired Dr Njue and the autopsy was performed at Consolata Mission Hospital in Nkubu, Meru County, on March 12, 2015.
A report presented to the family showed that the former administrator had died of heart attack but the family was shocked to learn that the body had been embalmed the night it was taken to the mortuary.
The body also had bruises and injuries on the head and hands.
The family accepted the findings and buried Mr Karau the following day at his second’s wife home in Ankamia location, Meru County.
Mr Mwongela, who is a lawyer, said he was not satisfied because there were rumours of commotion in the home the night his father died.
He said that he was also not satisfied by a toxicology report which indicated that the 70-year-old man had taken alcohol yet he was a teetotaller.
The lawyer sought the assistance of Prof Wangai Kiama, a fellow advocate who is also a medical doctor.
The family later filed a case seeking exhumation of the body and fresh investigations.
The exhumation was done on August 10, 2015 and a team comprising Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor, Dr Sylvester Maingi, Prof Kiama, Dr Scholastica Kimani and Dr Njue did the examination.
The latter two were involved in the first autopsy.
The team was shocked to discover that the heart, one kidney and other vital parts were missing.
According to Dr Oduor, the injuries on the upper part of the hand were defensive and most likely inflicted as he defended himself.
It is then that Dr Njue allegedly owned up, saying he took the heart for more analysis and what he termed as “histology”.
The family, however, said he never informed them of the missing body parts and why he allowed the body to be buried minus the heart.
In the statement filed with the medical board, Dr Kimani said she did not find it strange for her senior, Dr Njue, to take away the body parts.
“I assumed he would inform the family of this decision since he was representing them. Unfortunately, I did not document it,” she stated.
The same was confirmed by a mortuary attendant, Mr John Gathenya, who said he was asked to get containers to carry away the organs. Dr Njue is not new to controversy.
In 2000, while serving as the Nyeri provincial consultant pathologist, he performed autopsy on six inmates who had died in controversial circumstances at the King’ong’o prison.
Contrary to what was stated by the government, Dr Njue said the six inmates were bludgeoned to death and did not fall from a wall while trying to escape.
He has published a book, Dare to be Different, in which he chronicles some of the high-profile cases where the victims would have taken the truth to their graves were it not for the intervention of a pathologist.
In his statement to the police, Dr Njue denied taking the heart and other organs, stating they were disposed off.
It is an explanation that the DPP now wants tested in court once the pathologist is charged.
The DPP, has meanwhile, also recommended an inquest to establish the death of Mr Karau.
The East Africa