Police officers in Eldoret town have been allowed to exhume the body of Veronica Kwamboka Oginda who died under what some family members say was unclear circumstances.
This is after the High Court declined to extend stay orders that had been earlier issued after husband to the deceased, Elijah Oginda, appealed a Magistrates court decision to allow the body exhumed for a second autopsy.
While delivering his ruling on the application for stay orders, Lady Justice Hellen Omondi said the police had already indicated that they were investigating circumstances that led to the death and allowing stay orders to remain in force would amount to obstruction of justice.
“It is a matter of fact that there are questions being raised over this death. We are all interested in ensuring justice is served and it will be fair that the body is exhumed to allow police to complete their investigations,” said Lady Justice Omondi when delivering her ruling, Thursday.
Kwamboka was pronounced dead on arrival at the Eldoret Hospital on December 11. An autopsy report indicated that she died as a result of cardiac arrest but family members including her mother, brothers and sisters questioned the report and demanded for a second autopsy.
With questions being raised over the death, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) moved to court to seek exhumation orders, which was granted, but the husband moved to the High Court appealing the decision where stay orders were issued.
The police will now be required to notify both the respondents and appellant two days prior to the date of exhumation. Both sides of the families will be allowed to have representatives during the exercise.
Speaking after the ruling was delivered, lawyers representing both families welcomed the decision saying they were ready for the exhumation day.
“We agreed with the decision and the day they will pick we will be there. We also want to know what happened. If there was something that happened to her, we also want to know what it is and who is responsible,” Dennis Magare, lawyer to the husband who is also the appellant said.
“The first autopsy was not conclusive and the court has also observed that there is suspicion which can be addressed by having a second autopsy to the body. We are happy with the decision and for my clients, there was no vendetta as our desire was to pursue justice,” added Maurice Kimuli, lawyer to the mother, brothers and sisters of the deceased.