Architect in arrest drama at Kenyan airport

June 25, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – An Architect who resembles an American preacher facing pornography charges was on Thursday mistakenly arrested and interrogated at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as he prepared to leave Kenya for Seychelles.

Mr Francois Daniel of FD Theron Architects who holds a South African passport said he was sitting at the airport lounge when police officers approached him and ordered him to accompany them to an office where they interrogated him for close to an hour.

“They thought I was this guy (Thomas Manton) who was arrested and charged on Wednesday for doing silly things here in Nairobi. I am not that person,” he told reporters at the JKIA moments after he was set free.

He said he flew into Nairobi on Wednesday to supervise a lodge he is designing at the Serengeti and had to travel back to the Seychelles on Thursday morning “because I am busy designing a building there.”

“The lodge I am designing at the Serengeti, is known as Belila.  It is a five star lodge and I have been travelling here regularly.  I fly to Nairobi at least once every month,” he said.

All senior police officers at the airport declined to comment about the incident which turned out to be an embarrassment for them.

One of the officers who pleaded for anonymity said: “Please spare us this one. It is an embarrassment for us. I wish it does not go out to the media.”

A police officer who was involved in the interrogation told Capital News that they were tipped off by a taxi driver.

“We were informed by a taxi driver who said they had seen a man who looked like the American preacher who was charged in court yesterday (Wednesday). That is when we monitored him and we were equally convinced that he was the one. We have realised he is not the person,” the officer said.

When Capital News arrived at the airport, the architect was still making arrangements to make to Seychelles after missing his 9am flight.

“I have now missed my flight and I will have to stay here in Nairobi until tomorrow (Friday) when I will travel,” he said and added that he did not see the point of suing Kenyan authorities for wrongful arrest.

“You see if I sue them, it means I will have to stay around for a week or so. Will that help me?  No!” he said.

After the architect was set free at the airport, curious onlookers kept following him shouting “ni yeye, ni yeye (it is him, it is him).


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