Eldoret-based Human rights activist Ken Wafula Saturday said that Meshack Yebei was a witness for the International Criminal Court (ICC) although he was not under the Witness Protection list.
Mr Wafula noted that Yebei was among the first three ICC witnesses to pull out of the Kenyan cases that were before the court.
This comes as the family of Yebei said it is convinced that an unclaimed body that has been lying at Moi Voi Hospital mortuary since December 30, 2014 is that of their missing kin.
Mr Wafula of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) said that Yebei was an ICC witness who had recorded statements in the Waki report, Kenya Police, Kenya National Human Rights Commission and also met with ICC investigators.
“It is true that Yebei was an ICC witness but he pulled out along the way after negotiations with agents of the defence failed,” he said, adding that the negotiations failed following bribery claims by the defence.
He said that Yebei was his close friend who on several occasions complained to the police over the threats on his life.
Following the mysterious disappearance of Yebei from his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County in 2014, Deputy President William Ruto’s lawyer at the ICC, Karim Khan, described Yebei as a “critical” witness to the defence.
Mr Khan wrote the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Ndegwa Muhoro seeking a speedy investigation into the presumed death of Mr Yebei after a body found in River Yala in Nandi last December was claimed by Yebei’s family.
DNA results conducted on the body recovered in River Yala showed that it belonged to Hussein Yusuf, a matatu tout plying the Kapsabet-Kisumu route.
The family of Yusuf later took the body for burial at the Eldoret Muslim Cemetery last month after it was cleared for burial by the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Mortuary.
Yebei went missing on December 28, 2014, resulting to an outcry from his family as well as prompting a police investigation into his mysterious disappearance.
The father of three was an Eldoret-based businessman and politician.
He contested for Kapsagoi Ward as a civic leader on NARC ticket in 2002 but did not win the seat.
He was PNU co-ordinator for Turbo in 2007 and vied as an independent candidate for member of county assembly in 2013.
The family read mischief in his presumed killing and termed it political.
BODY RESEMBLES YEBEI
Speaking at the Moi Voi Hospital mortuary on Friday after seeing the body, Rev Moses Kisorio a brother to Yebei said it has many features resembling those of his younger brother.
He spoke after detectives took samples from the body for DNA test.
“We have identified Yebei through the physical features on the body. We are up to 92 per cent sure but we have to erase any doubts,” he said.
Nixon Yebei, a brother to Meshack Yebei said the family would remain patient until the tests were completed.
Fingerprints were also taken to be matched with those on his ID records in Nairobi.
“As a family we can only say that we are waiting for the results that were taken from the body recovered from Tsavo National Park forest and which we believe is that of our brother,” he told the Nation by phone.
In January, a statement from the ICC indicated that the Hague-based court was deeply concerned with reported death of Mr Meshack Yebei.
However, it stated that Mr Yebei was not on the prosecution witness list nor was he in contact with prosecution staff at the time of his disappearance.
“While local authorities are conducting further examination, the family of Mr Yebei has confirmed the identity of his body. We express our profound condolences to the family”, stated Herman von Hebel, ICC Registrar.