Venezuelan diplomat held in embassy murder probe

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 30, 2012 12:57 PM
Venezuelan diplomat held in embassy murder probe

By Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police have arrested a Venezuelan diplomat over the killing of the Venezuelan charge d'affaires in her official residence, the High Court heard on Monday.

Venezuela's acting ambassador and charge d'affaires, Olga Fonseca, was found dead in her official residence on Friday. Police said she had been strangled but the motive was unclear.

Dwight Sagaray, first secretary at the Venezuelan embassy, was arrested on Saturday and Kenyan police applied to a court on Monday to hold him in custody for a further 14 days.

"The suspect was arrested by the police after his diplomatic immunity was waived," deputy prosecutor Tabitha Ouya told the court.

Sagaray, wearing a yellow and green baseball jacket, appeared composed and other embassy officials observed the proceedings.

"The investigation is incomplete and (we) require more time to secure crucial evidence and apprehend other suspects," Ouya said.

Two Kenyan security guards who were guarding Fonseca's residence at the time of her death were charged in a separate court with failing to stop her killing.

Eluid Kimutai and Bernard Owino were charged at the Nairobi High Court with failing to use any reasonable means to stop Fonseca's murder. They both pleaded not guilty.

Judge Esther Maina released them on cash bail of 100,000 shillings ($1,200) and a Kenyan surety of half a million shillings each. Their trial has been set for August 27.

Sagaray was arrested along with five Kenyan embassy employees, but it was unclear whether the Kenyans had been charged or released.

Kenyan Foreign Ministry officials said local staff at the residence had complained to its Diplomatic Police Unit after the new envoy fired them.

Fonseca had sacked them after they refused to retract sexual harassment claims against the former head of the embassy, the employees said.

Judge Florence Muchemi will decide on Tuesday whether to remand Sagaray in custody or release him on bail.

Post-mortem results and DNA analysis have not yet reached police investigators, according to court documents.

($1 = 84.3000 Kenyan shillings)

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic, editing by James Macharia and Tim Pearce)