NSIS put gag order on Saitoti probe findings
Posted Wednesday, October 24 2012 at 22:30
How the events unfolded
- June 10: Aircraft crashes at Kibuki, Ngong 10 minutes after take- off from Wilson airport, Nairobi.
- June 12: Some Mps allege foul play, call for public inquest into crash.
- July 2: Justice Kalpana Rawal team sworn in to probe accident
- July 15: Inquest begins probing the procurement, storage, servicing and circumstances of accident.
The National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) issued a directive that forensic findings on the six bodies in the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Internal Security minister George Saitoti, his assistant and four police officers be kept secret, the commission investigating the accident heard on Wednesday. Read (Saitoti ‘may have died before copter crash’)
The agency, according to a witness, called a lead pathologist a day after postmortem examinations were conducted on the remains of Prof Saitoti, Mr Orwa Ojodeh, their two bodyguards and aircrew, directing that photographs and notes taken during the tests at Lee Funeral Home, Nairobi, “must not be shared with anybody.”
Dr Amriptal Kalsi, the 52nd witness said she received a call from her section head, Dr Johanssen Oduor, expressing the NSIS concerns.
“They called Dr Oduor and told him not to divulge any information relating to our notes and photographs. He said he had been directed by the NSIS that we should not divulge this information to anyone,” she added.
“No reason was given, but he told me he had received a directive and he was handing down the instructions to the rest of us,” Dr Kalsi said.
She was being cross examined by the Saitoti family lawyer Fredrick Ngatia who sought to know who called the doctors after the autopsies and why the NSIS was directing that they should not talk to anybody including about the findings.
Postmortem exam report
The doctor told the commission that samples of a distinct soot in the victims’ windpipes were neither analysed nor were the cherry pink marks noticed.
The observations were however made in the postmortem exam report.
She added that, “cherry pink” marks on a dead body may have been caused by cyanide poisoning apart from carbon monoxide inhalation.
Judge Kalpana Rawal, who chairs the commission, asked if it would be too late to get the blood samples that were taken from the victims but Dr Kalsi said the samples had since dried up at the government chemist and may not be available for any further analysis.
“We have lost the opportunity to test the samples,” she said.
She noted that the injuries noted in the autopsy report were correct except for the omissions of the cherry-pink patching and in hindsight said an inclusion of the tell-tale signs in the final postmortem report may have brought a new angle to the inquiry.
Meanwhile, an engineer, Mr Kamau Mbogo, who did a post-impact analysis of the aircraft’s engine at the Lady Lori shed in Wilson Airport, Nairobi, told the inquiry that he found nothing inherently wrong with it.
The engine was part of the six components of the aircraft isolated for further forensic analysis.
Mr Mbogo said he found evidence of fire in the engine and that a malfunction may have been caused by “something which was not part of the engine itself”.
He said his analysis revealed that “something” cut off power supply to the engine.
He found the engine was not at its full power at the time the chopper came down.