Prof George Saitoti’s son, Zachary, on Friday dismissed the Subukia couple claiming to be his parents as fraudsters and pranksters out to extort money from his family.
Mr Zachary Musengi Saitoti said Mr and Mrs Sebastian Maina Ngunju had no grounds to claim he was their son who was abducted 24 years ago.
In an affidavit presented before High Court judge Isaac Lenaola, Zachary said the couple’s suit was meant to divert public attention from the ongoing commission of inquiry into the helicopter crash that killed Prof Saitoti on June 10 in Ngong Forest.
The former Internal Security Minister died with his deputy Orwa Ojodeh, two bodyguards and the pilots of the police helicopter.
Zachary dismissed Mr Ngunju as a fantasist.
“Mr Ngunju says he saw me on TV at my father’s funeral and concluded that I resemble his other children. It is beyond me how a total stranger could claim paternity to a child on the basis of a picture on TV, notwithstanding he last saw the child at the age of three,” said Zachary.
He said that in July, he received a letter from a law firm inviting him to meet a couple from Subukia claiming to his parents.
He said he ignored the letter as he had become used to being blackmailed by people seeking to cash in on his father’s prominent position in government until he saw media reports on the Ngunju case.
“The claimants are just spreading rumours and falsehoods which have left me with no words to express the deep sense of anger, distress and hurt that I felt upon reading their claims replete with falsehood, malevolence and ill-concealed attempt to profit from my late father’s death,” he said.
Zachary said the Saitotis were his parents and he had never lived in Subukia as claimed by the couple or outside Nairobi except for the time he was in England for studies.
He dismissed claims that he had lived his entire life as an abductee, saying Mr Ngunju has sought to meet him several times to ask for financial help. Zachary said he had no intention of meeting Mr Ngunju, his wife or their children and asked the court to protect him since he was apprehensive about his safety should he be required to travel to Nakuru to participate in the proceedings initiated by Mr Ngunju.
Justice Lenaola issued orders stopping the magistrate’s court in Nakuru from proceeding with the case until the petition is heard and determined.
“Having read the application and the supporting affidavits of Mrs Saitoti and her son, I am satisfied that the orders sought in the circumstances are justifiable and direct that the case filed by Sebastian Maina Ngunju seeking leave to file a criminal case against Mrs Margaret Saitoti should not proceed,” ruled Justice Lenaola.
Through lawyer Fred Ngatia, Mrs Saitoti said she has been receiving requests for a meeting to resolve the matter, which in her view were attempts to dignify extortion and blackmail.
“Like my son Zachary, I cannot adequately express the harm Mr Ngunju has caused my family by the pervasive false allegations. However deep a sense of loss he feels regarding his missing son, he has no right to visit such callousness and grief on other families as he has done to me and my son,” swore Mrs Saitoti.
Justice Lenaola certified the petition as urgent and directed Mr Ngatia to serve Mr Ngunju, the Director of Public Prosecution and the chief magistrate court at Nakuru with the petition for an inter-parties hearing on November 28.
Mr Ngunju filed the suit in Nakuru claiming Zachary was his third-born child and asked the magistrate for leave to privately prosecute Mrs Saitoti for abducting him.
According to Mr Ngunju, his son was born Stephen Wachira and was kidnapped three days before his third birthday by a woman who was later arrested, charged and acquitted by a Nairobi court and that he has been unable to pursue the matter after receiving threats over the issue.