8 in court over lethal brew deaths

September 19, 2011 2:44 pm

, NAKURU, Kenya, Sep 19 – Eight people linked to an illicit brew that killed 19 people last week have appeared before a Nakuru court facing murder charges.

The accused were however not required to plead to the charges after the prosecution said they needed to undergo mandatory mental assessment tests before they proceed with the case.

State Counsel Vincent Nyakundi asked the court to remand the suspects at the Nakuru central police station until Thursday to allow for the examinations and submission of the reports to the court.

Those facing charges are Esther Wangui, Rose Wanjiru, Everline Lumadi, Gadson Mwangi, Charles Munga, Mary Njoki, Zakayo Githinji and Peter Maina.

Wangui, Wanjiru and Lumadi each face 12 counts of murder; Mwangi and Munga each face 19 counts while Njoki, Githinji and Maina face seven counts each.

The charges against them state that they murdered 19 people on diverse dates between September 10 and 13 this year at Nyahururu Township in Laikipia County and Olkalou town in Nyandarua County jointly with others not before the court.

The accused were represented by lawyers Lawrence Karanja, David Mongeri and Timothy Njogu. They are expected back in court on September 22 to plead to the charges.

Meanwhile, at least three people have died after drinking illicit alcohol on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Kiambu police boss Samuel Mukindia said the moonshine had high levels of methanol, which caused the deaths at Banana village.

Another five people are in hospital after reportedly going blind following consumption of the lethal brew.

Witnesses say the drink is dearly cherished by the majority there who cannot afford high-end alcohol.

Naivasha MP John Mututho, who pushed through tough legislation on alcoholic drinks, visited the area and announced that he will sue the government and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti for failing to enforce the law.